Autonomous cars may save lives better than red cross ambulances

Thoughts on Apple Car, Part 94

We already know selfdriving cars will save a lot of lives in traffic because they are less dangerous than human drivers.

But there may be another way autonomous cars will save lives: By replacing ambulances.

Consider the following scenario:

Someone needs to go to the hospital immediately. They are in the busy cuty center. An ambulance will take 10 minutes to get there and another 10 to get to the hospital.

An on-demand autonomous car however can be there in under one minute and can get to the hospital in 10. You save 9 minutes, almost 50% of the time.

Autonomous ambulances

Here’s the thing: Consequently, even regular ambulances of today will need to figure out a way to alert selfdriving cars of them coming through for an emergency.

Today, signals are designed to alert humans only: Horns and signal lights are the most important way to get the streets clear.

They don’t work for future traffic, though.

What will work is a system whereby all selfdriving cars are notified of an emergency going to the hospital – be it a regular human-driven ambulance or an emergency-hired Apple car. They will free lanes much more efficiently than the horn-signal-reaction system we have today.

This may get the above example down to 5 minutes and a 75% improvement in time to hospital.

Sounds bonkers?

Read this:

Not knowing when your ambulance arrives is one of the most stressful aspects in an emergency. Uber shows you exactly what happens.

Another hint is found at Apple with its focus on health and emergencies: The Medical ID has been part of iOS since 2015.


Have a safe 2018!

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