Google wants to create a fleet of ambulance drones that could be used to reach humans stranded in remote locations during medical emergencies, according to a patent granted to the tech giant Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The patent -- officially titled "Providing emergency medical services using unmanned aerial vehicles" -- involves a fleet of drones that could be dispatched to provide medical support, meaning they could bring necessary supplies to humans during an emergency. For example, one of these drones could be sent to exhausted hikers to bring them an emergency supply of water or they could also be used to send other kinds of medical supplies, such as first aid kits, various kinds of defibrillators or EpiPens, according to the patent's description.
Each drone in the fleet would be slightly different to accommodate for a variety of medical situations. The drones "may include a package that is designed for a particular medical situation such as choking, cardiac arrest, shock, asthma, drowning, etc.," Google said in the patent documents.
Though tech giants often file for patent that never see the light of day as actual products, Google has already begun to dabble with drones. For a few years now, the company's Google X lab has been working on Project Wing, which involves using drones to deliver products to consumers in rural areas.
Similarly, Amazon has been testing what it calls Amazon Prime Air, which would involve using drones to deliver good to the online retailers customers. Unfortunately for both Google and Amazon, drone regulations in the U.S. remain pretty tight -- for example, you can only fly a drone if it is within your line of sight -- making it inconvenient for large companies to use drones at this time.
The Google ambulance drones patent was first spotted by SmartUp, a legal startup that specializes in helping clients connect with lawyers.