In a drone vs. ambulance showdown, first aid supplies get to patients faster when flown rather than driven through surface streets, sirens wailing.
That’s what researchers from Iraq and Australia found during test scenarios with a DJI Phantom 3 Professional remote-controlled drone pitted against a human-driven ambulance vehicle in a busy Iraqi city.
In four tests, the drone raced an ambulance from a hospital in Erbil, Iraq, to crowded neighborhoods near schools and markets with narrow streets. Each delivery method was timed to see how long it took to get the first aid kit to “patients.”
The results from the team — comprised of people from Middle Technical University in Baghdad, University of Mosul, University of South Australia, and the Defence Science and Technology Group — were published in July in the Sensors journal. The findings made it clear that drone transport reduces delivery time and gets there quicker.
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The drone vs. ambulance show-down.
Image: Saif Saad Fakhrulddin, Sadik Kamel Gharghan, Ali Al-Naji Javaan Chahl / sensors
The drone arrived 90 seconds and 120 seconds before the ambulance in two different locations during each test run. Crowded roads with obstacles meant an ambulance took 300 seconds compared to the drone’s 210 seconds for one particular drop-off spot. That’s 31 percent time savings when deciding to use one method over the other.
For time-critical scenarios those seconds add up.