As far as CEO Dr. Dennis Göbel is concerned, the sound of ambulance sirens should soon be heard far less often in the Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region. Since September 2014, he and his team at Agaplesion Deaconry Clinics have been working on replacing emergency vehicles with drones. A first in Europe when it comes to transporting blood bottles, histological specimens, or medications.
One Blood Bank for All
Göbel is responsible for three hospitals in a busy urban area, only one of which has a blood bank. By deploying drones instead of vehicles, Göbel hopes to save time and costs, with a view to increasing safety for patients and staff. “Driving from one hospital to the other takes twenty minutes during rush hour – the drone makes it in about four”, he tells us. At the same time, siren-sounding ambulances are relatively more likely to get into an accident. Says Göbel, “we are also striving to reduce the risk of someone dying, while underway trying to help.”
Some aspects of German flight regulations are currently still keeping the drones from lifting off. Lest they could crash, drones are banned from flying over “groups of people” or out of the pilot’s “direct sight”. However, Göbel hopes these issues will soon be resolved. According to him “these drones are equipped with such safety features, that the likelihood of a crash is extremely low”.