Drones have become very popular among consumers over the last few years, with various applications mainly in photography and videography, but their potential suggests that there soon could be a slew of additional uses that normal people could benefit from. Particularly, drones could turn out to be very helpful for delivery of physical objects or perhaps an Internet connection.

According to Quartz, a new Google patent filed recently is all about a potential medical use. While last year the idea of medical equipment-carrying drones had already been patented by the search giant, it looks like the company may have found a viable method via which users could contact the devices…

The patent shows a device similar to an old radio, featuring a series of buttons corresponding to the various medical emergencies as well as a screen, which seems to be used to show the drone’s estimated time of arrival. When dealing with situations where the life of someone is at risk, every minute that is saved can prove to be fundamental — and this exactly the message stressed.

As per the patent:

For example, if it takes 8-9 minutes for an EMS unit such as an ambulance or fire truck to arrive at the site of the emergency under normal circumstances, the first 60-120 seconds of that time may involve the dispatch (e.g., calling 9-1-1, speaking to an operator, etc.). A UAV, on the other hand can be dispatched with an example system without the human interaction required for typical 9-1-1 emergency response, and may be able to travel faster than a ground vehicle because it does not face traffic conditions and will have less distance to cover since it can travel “as the crow flies” versus following roads.

While there is no mention of an app implementation — presumably because Google wouldn’t want drones to be summoned in just any area, especially crowded ones — the filing does mention self-driving cars as being an alternate method of deployment  were they to be more efficient than a drone in a particular moment, thus hinting at other potential use cases to be made for the company’s autonomous cars’ project.

Certainly this patent alone cannot suggest that Google is actively working on a medical emergency drone system, but such a program would nonetheless be an intriguing feature to be added to the firm’s Wing project, which, according project leader Dave Vos, could see drones go live as soon as 2017.

About the Author

Edoardo Maggio's favorite gear