In a collaboration originally dating back to 2018, Volocopter and ADAC Luftrettung have taken a step towards advancing emergency medical services (EMS) through the deployment of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. This partnership, initiated by a feasibility study, is set to improve the way emergency medical care is delivered, significantly reducing response times and enhancing the overall effectiveness of EMS operations.
Efficient and timely emergency response is critical to saving lives in time sensitive situations. Over the past two decades, the time it takes for emergency doctors to reach incident sites has increased by around 40% in Germany, leading to longer EMS response times. Factors contributing to these delays include growing demand for services, congested urban areas, and a shortage of qualified emergency doctors.
In 2018, ADAC Luftrettung and Volocopter initiated a feasibility study to explore the potential use of eVTOL aircraft in medical missions. The study aimed to answer the pivotal question of how eVTOLs could enhance the delivery of emergency medical services.
The results of the feasibility study, published in 2020, showcased the immense potential of eVTOLs in EMS operations. Through over 26,000 simulations of aeromedical missions using Volocopter’s VoloCity air taxi aircraft, it became evident that these aircraft could extend the reach of emergency doctors, ensuring their swift availability at incident sites.
The research highlighted the possibility of establishing up to 250 multicopter sites across Germany, underlining that eVTOLs would complement, not replace, existing rescue transport helicopters and ground-based emergency doctor locations.
The success of the feasibility study culminated in ADAC Luftrettung securing two VoloCity aircraft with special yellow branding and logo for EMS operations. During the Paris Air Show in 2023, an agreement was signed for ADAC Luftrettung to purchase these aircraft, along with securing 150 more options for the next generation of eVTOLs.
In September 2023, the branded VoloCity aircraft was unveiled, symbolizing the partnership between both organizations. This development is a testament to the synergy between Volocopter and ADAC Luftrettung, with the yellow color complementing ADAC Luftrettung’s well-known “yellow angels” helicopter fleet.
Volocopter’s aircraft offer several advantages for emergency medical services, including zero in-flight emissions, reduced noise levels, simplified maintenance, and lower costs. These attributes help provide the value proposition for eVTOLs as a compelling choice for medical transportation.
The increasing public support for eVTOL integration in medical services, as highlighted by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and other surveys, underscores the potential bright future of eVTOLs in EMS.
Why it’s important: As Volocopter works to receive certification from EASA in 2024, the partnership with ADAC Luftrettung is set to help advance emergency medical services in Germany. The VoloCity aircraft represents a step toward realizing the vision of urban air mobility and saving lives through eVTOL solutions.