The German ADAC Luftrettung, that is the air rescue service, is planning to test manned electric multi-copters as rescue vehicles in two states in Germany, namely Bavaria and Rhineland-Palatinate. Volocopter’s electric VTOL will be used for the pilot.
The electric aircraft in this test is based on drone technology. The design enables it to be used in inner city areas, and the motor is strong enough to transport two passengers about 30 km all-electriccally.
The VTOL of Volocopter was adapted for the rescue service, although the ADAC did not reveal exactly which changes were made.
The concept behind the project is to use the manned drones as an emergency rescue vehicle much like a helicopter but smaller, which can quickly transport patients, and thus improve response time and care.
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ADAC will begin the project with a feasibility study, and conduct a series of test flights over the next months to gather data. The first results for the project are expected in late 2019, which will provide some insight about the potential uses and economic viability of the technology. Starting next spring, the institute for emergency medicine and medical management at the Ludwig-Maximilians university in Munich will begin computer simulations of potential scenarios involving the Volocopter – with a particular focus on the two pilot regions.
The costs for the feasibility study, which is set to run for about 1.5 years, will come to about half a million euros. It is funded by the public ADAC foundation, which also owns the Luftrettung (Air Rescue) subsidiary as of about a year ago. ADAC Luftrettung is currently operating 50 rescue helicopters and 36 stations. Frédéric Bruder, head of the organisation, stated that the ADAC was among the first in Germany to test helicopters for medical evacuations 50 years ago, and that it thus only made sense for them to continue to innovate and push the technological limits of rescue services.
The Volocopter comes from a company with the same name based in Bruchsal, Germany. The aviation startup received a temporary flight license in 2016 from German authorities, and has been in close contact with the EU flight regulation agency EASA. The company has since undertaken multiple test flights both in and outside of Europe, and is planning a series of test flights for inner city transport in Singapore next year.
adac.de (In German)