Drones equipped with a portable medical device can help save lives of heart attack victims by reaching the spot four times faster than an ambulance, a new study has found. Researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden compared the time taken to deliver an automated external defibrillator (AED) using fully autonomous drones for simulated out-of- hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) with emergency medical services (EMS). A drone was developed by the Swedish Transportation Agency and was equipped with an AED, a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. The drone was equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) and a high-definition camera and integrated with an autopilot software system. It was dispatched for out-of-sight flights to locations where OHCAs were within a 10 kilometre radius from the fire station. Researchers noted that the drone arrived more quickly than EMS in all cases with a response time of 16:39 minutes. “Saving 16 minutes is likely to be clinically important. Nonetheless, further test flights, technological development, and evaluation of integration with dispatch centres and aviation administrators are needed,” researchers said.
Self-flying planes set to take off next year
Boeing Co is looking ahead to a brave new world where jet liners fly without pilots and aims to test the technology next year, the world’s biggest plane maker has said. The idea may seem far-fetched but with self-flying drones available for less than $1,000, “the basic building blocks of the technology clearly are available”, said Mr Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice-president of product development. Jetliners can already take off, cruise and land using their onboard flight computers and the number of pilots on a standard passenger plane has dropped to two from three over the years. Mr Sinnett, a pilot himself, plans to test the technology in a cockpit simulator this summer. The new technology would allow artificial intelligence to make some of the decisions normally made by pilots. If all goes well, Mr Sinnet says the technology could be tested on a real aircraft sometime next year. Airlines are among those backing the idea, in part to deal with a projected need for 1.5 million pilots over the next 20 years as global demand for air travel continues to grow. Self-flying aircraft would need to meet the safety standards of air travel and also need to convince regulators. A self-flying plane would need to be able land safely as Captain Chesley Sullenberger did in the “Miracle on the Hudson”, Mr Sinnett said, “If it can’t, then we can’t go there.” A US Airways plane hit a flock of geese shortly after taking off in 2009 knocking out its engines but Sullenberger managed to glide the Airbus A320 to a safe landing on the Hudson River, saving all 150 passengers on board.You may soon travel between cities while staying in your hotel roomWhen you go out of town, you usually need to buy a few nights at a hotel in addition to a plane, train, or bus ticket. Brandan Siebrecht, a graduate architecture student at the University of Nevada, US, wants to combine these components into one experience. He has designed what he calls the “Hyperloop Hotel”, a system that would feature a transit system and 13 hotels in different cities throughout the US.