Google was recently awarded a patent that could propel medicine into the future.
The patent, first spotted by Quartz’s Mike Murphy, outlines a system where drones would bring medical aid to people in distress. That means if you’re in a dire situation and 911 simply isn’t going to cut it, or you need supplies before an ambulance can get there, a drone could come save the day.
The system works like this: the person in need or someone nearby could summon the drone using a portable box that would allow you to enter what kind of medical problem needs to be addressed, like anaphylatic shock or cardiac arrest.
The drone would read where the portable box is located using WiFi, a cellular connection, or maybe even a plain old telephone service connection. It would then fly autonomously to deliver the appropriate supplies, like an epipen. The drone could also be semi-autonomous in this scenario and piloted by someone else, the patent explained.
The portable box would also allow you to select what exactly you want the drone to bring, although you could get away with just entering your medical condition. Once it arrives, the drone could provide step-by-step instructions on how to use the supplies via video.
To ensure the drones can help anyone in any situation, Google noted that flying robot could come in many forms, like a floatplane that can land on water if need be.
Once the drone is on its way, it would send a medical support request to the nearest dispatcher to ensure an ambulance is also on the way.
The system could shave time off the traditional method of calling 911 by eliminating the time it takes to dial and connect with the dispatcher, Google explained in the patent. The drone could also arrive faster because it doesn’t have to deal with normal traffic conditions.
This is not the first time the tech giant has shown interest in a communicative drone system. Google filed a patent in October for its delivery drone system, dubbed Project Wing, to work with on-the-ground, four-wheeled robots. The drone would work with the land robot to deliver packages in a more efficient matter.