Falck, one of the world’s most impressive emergency response providers, is turning to manned drones to get paramedics to the scene of an emergency faster than ever.
Operating in over 30 countries with over 25,000 emergency-trained employees, Falck plans to make manned drones an integral part of its fire and emergency medical services starting even before 2025. According to Falck, it the organization will use eVTOL transport to respond with a single paramedic, who can assess whether an ambulance is needed.
Falck is initiating its VTOL emergency response efforts with an unmanned drone program. Since 2018, Falck has been working with the innovation project “HealthDrones” – a three-year innovation project funded by Innovation Fund Denmark. The project was designed to explore how effective UAVs can be in transporting items like blood samples or medical equipment. The project was found so successful that Falck is now transitioning into operating its own drone fleet, with near-future addition of manned drones. A statement by Falck mentions that the company will work with a yet unnamed ‘tech partner’ which will provide the manned drones themselves and assist in carrying out manned operations.
According to Falck, the key benefits of eVTOL response are multitude, but it’s yet to be seen which of these benefits will be the most valuable. Falck’s hypothesis is that the highest value will likely be found in improving response times, better accessing remote areas, treating patients at their homes, or reducing the number of necessary ambulance trips. Part of Falck’s goal for now is to experiment with these situations to discover in where the new flight technology can be most effective.
Falck expects to carry out the manned drone flights in cooperation with customers in either Denmark or abroad, and claims that several customers have already expressed interest. Falck expects to cooperate with one or more customers where the existing emergency medical services are at a high level, which encourages customer readiness for development.
Why it’s important: Emergency response represents one of the most near-term business use cases for eVTOL technology. While the expected benefits for emergency response itself are numerous and key to saving lives, putting new flight technologies to use in these situations will also provide an excellent way for eVTOLs to enter the market and the public sphere. In addition to Falck, new technologies from Volocopter, Urban Aeronautics, and even Gravity Industries are also entering partnerships for emergency response.