Swedish startup Everdrone has gotten the all-clear to extend its life-saving First on Scene Solutions activity using drones to speed automated external defibrillators (AED) and provide other support to first responders in Sweden’s vast Västra Götaland county.
The company has been working with the area’s Region Västra Götaland administrative council since 2020, and that cooperation has now been prolonged through assured financing for another year. Everdrone has been active developing uses of UAVs to assist victims and first responders in emergency situations, which last year resulted in one of its drones rushing an AED in time to save the life of a man who’d suffered from cardiac arrest – a world first.
While the majority of UAV service providers have focused on commercial activities like deliveries or mapping, Everdrone has dedicated itself to public safety and emergency response – and blazed the trail in testing and deploying drones to transport AEDs. Working with local governments and first responder organizations, the company’s First on Scene Solutions now covers a population mass of 340,000, many of whom reside in Sweden’s west coast Västra Götaland county.
The decision to extend Everdrone’s work in the area through 2023 was described as a major step toward establishing drone transport of AEDs in emergency situations as a permanent public safety service.
“Our work together has been thoroughly rewarding, and now we can develop the functionalities even more,” says Region Västra Götaland’s innovative platform manager, Magnus Kristiansson. “System innovation, increased know-how on air space regulations… there’s always more to learn, but I’m hopeful that the AED deliveries – as well as additional benefits from drone deliveries – can be implemented on a more permanent basis as long as we keep on exploring, learning, and working together.”
The extension is also another acknowledgment of the startup’s groundbreaking, quasi-evangelical work in demonstrating the life-altering and life-saving contributions of UAVs to emergency responses.
Everdrone was active in initial trials resulting in drones delivering AEDs faster than habitual ground ambulances. Shortly after that, the company successfully piloted a UAV carrying a defibrillator during simulated emergency flights across Helsinki – the capital of Finland located 800 km from the Everdrone pilot overseeing the craft in Göteborg, Sweden.
Everdrone then trumped that performance when one of its drones helped save a cardiac victim’s life by delivering an AED to a street-side doctor who’d phone the emergency in. Fast response time is critical in such situations, with the chances of survival decreasing between 7% and 10% each minute a stopped heart cannot be restarted.
Out-of-hospital heart attacks still account for about 20% of all deaths in developed nations, due to mortality rates of nearly 90% in those situations. Cardiac arrest outside of clinical environments strike around 275,000 patients in Europe each year, and 350,000 in the US.
Everdrone CEO Mats Sällström says the extension of its work in Västra Götaland is a reflection of the operational, regulatory, health, and tech experience it has gained in delivering AEDs by drone in recent years, but insists the company can continue building on and improving its performance in the future.
“We are proud of this decision, but we are not stopping there,” said Sällström. “We are committed to expanding the capabilities of our drones and improving our services. Our current fastest delivery time is two minutes and 27 seconds, and we aim to improve it further by reducing flight time by up to 60 seconds in the coming year. This is just the beginning.”
Indeed, as part of their continuing cooperation, Region Västra Götaland is examining extended use of Everdrone’s LiveView application, a real-time aerial video stream of emergency scenes that provides responders with vital, time-sensitive information they can immediately put to use when they arrive.