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Forget ambulances: AI drones may be the new first responders in a medical emergency

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Dronbulance? Ambudrone? It's likely that the U.S. will see drones as first responders if researchers at Caltech get their way.

What are the details?

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology are in the process of developing an autonomous drone ambulance, or "Personal Rescue System," that would assist in providing medical care to those in critical shape.

Project director Prof. Mory Gharib said that "[the drone] can basically negotiate with situations, reason and make the best decision in order to save the life of the person it carries."

KCAL-TV reported that the researchers' goal in designing the autonomous drone is to "airlift injured or trapped victims in hard to reach disaster zones."

"Researchers envision the vehicle transporting people facing medical emergencies like heart attacks or strokes, and airlifting injured or trapped victims from hard to reach disaster zones including wildfires or flood zones," WPEC-TV reported.

"During the flight, the patient’s vital signs would be monitored by sensors inside the drone," KCAL reported.

How big is this drone?

The station also reported that the drone would reportedly be the size of a "small car" and would be piloted by an artificial intelligence system.

Researchers say that the system could be ready for use within just five years.

According to KPIX-TV, Caltech researchers say that the drones would run off of batteries, which should "allow the vehicle to fly up for to 20 minutes per trip."

The drone device has been in development for no less than two years, WPEC reported.

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