It seems as though new uses are found for drones almost on a weekly basis. Their speed, maneuverability and their ability to access hard to reach areas is fast being appreciated as a real asset in many areas with the latest being potentially life saving.
The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, has been conducting a series of trials where a drone is rigged to carry an automated external defibrillator to be deployed by a member of the public in the event of a cardiac arrest. During the initial studies a drone was housed at a fire station, and then piloted to the emergency location and was shown to shave valuable seconds off the time that it took to get an ambulance to the same location. Following a cardiac arrest, every second is crucial so this could be one area where drones could offer huge benefits. A larger scale trial is going to start in Sweden in the next year or so with thoughts that drones could be similarly deployed to deliver life saving allergy medications as well as the heart starting equipment.
The drawback at the moment is, like the UK, Sweden requires that drones be operated within the line of sight of the operator but I’m sure that with such potential benefits on offer, solutions will eventually be found to allow this technology to be widely deployed.