O2 is running at trial this month to kit out ambulances with 5G and "state-of-the-art" devices to turn them into remote consultation rooms.
The Smart Ambulance is being put through its paces at Millbrook Proving Ground, a leading vehicle testing facility in Bedford, before being unleashed into the real world.
Samsung, Visionable, and Launchcloud have partnered with O2 on the project to provide the devices, video software, and "asset tracking and compliance check elements" respectively.
The aim is to allow paramedics to be able to treat patients in the ambulance using all the tech to enable remote consultations and as a result, lessen the strain on hospitals. If your medical emergency can be dealt with without carting you off to hospital, then that's great news all round.
In order to rigorously test the Smart Ambulance before it gets deployed, the trial will simulate emergency call outs to see how it fares under pressure. A similar trial is already taking place with six ambulances at the East of England Ambulance Trust which O2 is also involved in.
"It’s no secret there is increasing pressure on our health services. Healthcare is one of the areas set to benefit most from 5G technology, with faster, more effective treatment, and significant efficiency savings," said O2 COO Derek McManus. "That’s why we’re supporting the Smart Ambulance trials as part of the AutoAir 5G project to accelerate the adoption of connected and self-driving technology and unlock the benefits of 5G for communities and businesses alike”.
So look forward to a not-so-distant future where you can be in and out of an ambulance, and back inside the comfort of your own house without a stint at the hospital, and say goodbye to get well balloons and a bombardment of grapes.
Feature image credit: East Midlands Ambulance Service