In late September, Everdrone AB will be piloting the delivery of an automated defibrillator by drone in Helsinki. Fast delivery of a defibrillator could save human lives in emergency situations.
In Finland, 5,000–10,000 people* die from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests every year. Getting help to the patient as soon as possible could save a heart patient’s life. By deploying drones equipped with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) to the scene of emergency situations, bystanders are given the ability to initiate life-saving measures while awaiting professional medical care. In the case of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the chance of survival decreases by approximately 10% with each minute following the collapse**.
This is the reasoning behind a pilot being carried out in Helsinki, in which the delivery of an automated defibrillator will be tested. Swedish drone operator Everdrone AB, which was selected as the operator for this pilot in an open call for tenders, will carry out the pilot. The City of Helsinki innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki will be coordinating the pilot, as part of the ‘Carbon Neutral Drone Service Solutions in Southern Finland’ project funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Cross-border drone operation for the first time
In the drone delivery service by Everdrone in the Gothenburg region, the drone flies autonomously to the location where it is needed and lowers the defibrillator to the person assisting the patient. The route of the drone is automatically planned to avoid densely populated residential areas and crowds as much as possible.
“Drones eliminate problems like rush hour traffic and traffic jams and allow help to arrive faster than when having to keep to the road, as traditional emergency service vehicles do. Drones can also reach places like islands that are otherwise hard or impossible to get to with cars or trucks,” says Ground Operations Manager Daniel Blecher of Everdrone AB.
For the first time ever, a drone delivering an AED will be operated from another country.
During the pilot, the drone will be operated from Everdrone Mission Control Centre in Sweden, with a safety operator on-site monitoring the operations in Helsinki.
Simulating a real emergency situation
The pilot will comprise a number of complete delivery missions, simulating the major components of a real-life scenario.
“During the pilot, a number of missions will be carried out in which an autonomous drone flies to the scene of a simulated emergency and lowers an AED to the ground using a winch system, before flying back to the launch location. The missions will be performed over a simulation of a residential area in order to showcase the intelligent route planning and autonomous flying capabilities of the drone,” says Blecher.
As a part of the pilot, information and data will be gathered about how a drone could accelerate the initiation of life-saving measures in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest situations. The CO2 emissions of the drone-delivery compared to other modes of transport will also be looked at.
“Forum Virium Helsinki has several ongoing projects in which drone deliveries are being piloted. These projects are looking at, for instance, how to use drones for the purpose of decreasing CO2 emissions, producing new services and business as well as to meet the needs of healthcare and emergency services,” says Project Manager Suvi Vähä-Sipilä from Forum Virium Helsinki.
The City of Helsinki receives information on how the City can take the increase in drone operations into consideration in urban planning and what kind of a role the City can play as the operational environment of unmanned aircrafts.
Drone pilot delivering an AED defibrillator in Helsinki
- The delivery of an AED defibrillator by drone will be piloted in Helsinki on 21–22 September 2021 at 9.00–16.00 at Malmi Airport (NB! Weather dependent).
- Everdrone AB will carry out the flights. This is the first time Everdrone AB, a company providing a defibrillator delivery service in western Sweden, carries out a pilot in Finland.
- The pilot is a part of the ‘Carbon Neutral Drone Service Solutions in Southern Finland’ project funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
- The drone flights will be remotely operated from Sweden, with a safety person on-site to ensure safe flights.
Each mission will include:
- a simulated emergency request call
- an autonomous drone flight from the start location to the scene of the emergency
- delivery of the AED in close proximity to the simulated emergency situation
- autonomous return flight to the drone start location
- technical inspection of the drone.
* Source: Lääkärikirja Duodecim
** Source: Larsen M P, Eisenberg M S, Cummins R O et al. Predicting survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a graphic model. Ann Emerg Med 1993221652-1658.