Emergency response and healthcare group Falck says it intends to start using eVTOL aircraft to carry paramedics to accident scenes by 2025. The Denmark-based company already employs drones to support its worldwide operations and is now evaluating new manned aircraft that it feels have the most potential to improve its response to medical emergencies, fires, and other incidents.
In a statement last week, Falck said that it is preparing to start test flights with what it called “manned drones.” The company said that it is in the process of establishing a partnership with an unnamed “technical partner” to start some trial flights. Several eVTOL developers, including Germany’s Volocopter, China’s EHang, Israel's Urban Aeronautics, and Jaunt Air Mobility in the U.S., intend to offer versions of their aircraft to support emergency response work.
Since 2018, Falck has been involved in a project called HealthDrones that is evaluating how unmanned aircraft can be used to carry emergency supplies, such as blood samples and medical equipment. The work has received financial support from the Innovation Fund Denmark and also involves autonomous vehicle developer Holo, unmanned air traffic management specialist Unifly, digital services company SA Group, Odense University Hospital, and the University of Southern Denmark. The project is due to continue through the end of 2022.
Falck says that several of its customers in Denmark and elsewhere have expressed a willingness to be involved in the eVTOL aircraft trials. In a third-quarter financial statement issued on October 26, the company, which has 25,000 employees in 30 countries, said that it expects to generate revenues of up to DKK 12.5 billion ($1.99 billion) in 2020, and an operating profit of up to DKK 650 million ($103.6 million).