The recent news that medical response and search drones are the latest technology being used to provide aid in the war against Ukraine has us all wanting to learn more. Recognized as being at the forefront of technology for over 20 years, Draganfly, the creator of quality, cutting-edge drone solutions, software and AI systems, is an award-winning industry-leader serving the public safety, agriculture, industrial inspections, security, mapping and surveying markets.
The company has a long and proud history of supporting EMS services and humanitarian aid efforts globally. For more than two decades, it has continued to develop cutting-edge drone solutions, software and artificial intelligence (AI) systems that are able to fit seamlessly into existing operations.
I took the opportunity to ask Cameron Chell, CEO of Draganfly, some questions about this latest digital business transformation project and avail of his own lengthy expertise and knowledge. Here are my questions and his responses:
Can you tell me why it’s so difficult for emergency crews to access the areas in the current conflict and why drones are the best option?
Chell: Drones are incredibly versatile. During active emergency, medical, battlefield and disaster response situations, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used to reduce response times, improve situational awareness and increase overall efficiency.
Across Ukraine, there is an urgent need for medical supplies and life-saving equipment. However, fighting has damaged buildings and roads, which is making it difficult and dangerous for emergency crews to provide aid to those in need. To address this issue, Revived Soldiers Ukraine (RSU) decided to incorporate Draganfly’s drones into its humanitarian aid response in the country.
The drones will be able to access hotspots and provide humanitarian aid within major Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv.
What will the drone technology provide?
Chell: Our drone technology will provide visual oversight during critical missions and help ensure the timely delivery of temperature-sensitive medical supplies and life-saving equipment to dangerous and hard-to-reach areas.
A drone is extremely fast, extremely sturdy, and can fly beyond visual lines of sight, and the design here is to be able to get medical equipment into people that are either in siege situations or across battle lines or trapped in certain situations where you can’t walk something across the street or drive a truck into an area.
What will a typical Medical and Response Search and Rescue Drone be specifically equipped with?
Chell: Draganfly’s Medical Response Drones will be equipped with our innovative temperature-managed payload box, which can transport up to 35 pounds of medical supplies including blood, pharmaceuticals, medicines including insulin, vaccines, water and wound care kits. It is also uniquely top-mounted to make deliveries safer and more accessible.
Would you tell me more about how drones can read the vital signs of survivors on the ground and then provide data to the trucks on the ground so they know where to triage?
Chell: Draganfly’s AI Vital Intelligence platform is able to provide users with real-time access to valuable health and safety insights by turning existing camera systems – including those on drones – into powerful diagnostic tools.
With voluntary consent, our Smart Vital system is able to screen a variety of vital signs including temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation (SpO2) in seconds. The system does not register any personal data of the individual being screened.
During active emergency, medical, battlefield and disaster response situations, drones equipped with Draganfly’s Vital Intelligence technology can provide first responders with crucial health insights. Using the drone’s RGB video feed, EMS could initiate patient evaluations before ambulances arrive.
Draganfly firmly believes nothing collects data better than a drone. The entire team is committed to ensuring first responders have the information they need to safely and effectively respond during critical missions.
What drew you to the industry? Is this technology the future of medical response in these types of siege or remote situations?
Chell: I have been a technology entrepreneur for more than 30 years. It’s very important to me to build companies with purpose and value. I am always looking for ways to provide effective, safe and sustainable solutions to real-world problems.
Draganfly continues to accomplish this across a variety of major markets, including public safety and medical response. In 2013, Draganflyer X4-ES became the first drone credited with saving a human life. Equipped with an infrared camera, the drone was used by Canadian officials to locate an injured driver in a heavily wooded area. That drone remains on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Before tragedy struck Ukraine, Draganfly and Coldchain Delivery Systems were already working with EMS personnel in Spring Branch, Texas on the development and training of how to properly pilot drones and handle deliveries during active emergency, medical and disaster response situations.
To date, we have completed over 300 successful daytime drone delivery test flights with EMS personnel in Texas and began night flight training and testing in October. One hundred of the successful daytime test flights were completed with our temperature-managed payload box that will be utilized by Revived Soldiers Ukraine (RSU).
First responders and humanitarian aid organizations need to be prepared for everything. Fighting across Ukraine continues to create dangerous conditions for emergency crews trying to provide aid to those in need. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine highlights the need for solutions that minimize risk and maximize safety. UAV technology such as Medical Response and Search and Rescue Drones are crucial for saving both time and lives.
Draganfly is extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with RSU as the non-profit organization scales up its humanitarian aid response in Ukraine. Its drone solutions will help crews on the ground safely and effectively provide aid to Ukrainians in need.