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Delivery Drones enable remote medical triage for Search and Rescue Operations

Researchers at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) have demonstrated the value of drone delivery platforms to assist in search and rescue operations, by providing remote guided medical triage for simulated injured hikers. Leveraging remote medical triage will help buy rescuers invaluable time to reach victims and extract them to a trauma centre.

In this testing, researchers deposited a remote medical kit and communications device to simulated injured hikers, then connected them directly to a trauma specialist who successfully walked them through applying several trauma treatments, including gauze packing, tourniquet and clamp, etc.

SAIT researchers, in partnership with the University of Calgary, one of Canada’s largest health facilities, employed drones outfitted with the A2Z Drone Delivery Rapid Delivery System, to conduct its proof-of-concept tests. The A2Z drone winch allowed medical kits and communications devices to be lowered with precision to simulated downed hikers from altitude, which ensures spinning propellors are kept far from the “hiker” and surrounding trees and enables the drone to maintain its guided telemetry connection amongst undulating terrain.

According to Dr. Andrew Kirkpatrick of Alberta Health Services and the TeleMentored Ultrasound Supported Medical Interventions (TMUSMI) Research Group, “The applications for drone-borne remote medical assistance are potentially unlimited, and potentially lifesaving in emergency situations like a stranded hiker having sustained injuries. Obviously, it takes valuable time for rescuers to deploy, locate and triage a victim. With remote medical assistance, we could buy those rescuers more time to reach victims and extract them to a trauma centre.”

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