When every second counts.
First aid with quadrocopters

While in Germany alone around 300,000 people per year suffer from a heart attack, there are up to one million people in Europe whose cases end in death. The main reason: medical assistance comes too late. Ultimately, the first few minutes for successfully treating a heart attack are vitally important. It is not uncommon that medical rescue operations often come too late, despite the emergency number being dialed immediately, because the path to the patient is too far away or too difficult due to heavy traffic.

Constantly developing utilization possibilities for quadrocopters leads to a great number of people who are able to be rescued, where previously help came too late. Drones constructed especially for such cases will soon fly from the emergency services to the place of the incident. As far as 12 square kilometers within 1 minute. The caller is tracked using GPS and controlled directly from the drone. Already on board: everything necessary for medical first aid.

A high-resolution camera enables emergency doctors at the hospital to assess the situation and observe the development via live streaming. They can also reassure the emergency responders via an integrated audio system and give them important instructions – right through to using the supplied medical unit. It is therefore possible to seize every measure beforehand, which are life-saving in many cases, by the time the ambulance arrives.

Everything under control:
crisis management, missing persons search
and civil defense with UAVs.

In addition to emergency services, quadrocopters are also increasingly popular with the police, fire services and the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) and are involved in establishing promising technology for crisis management. UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) are taking over important services which were previously done using expensive and complex helicopter operations:

  • Using DSIS (drone-supported scenario information system) they establish a quick overview of large deployment sites, e.g. for floods or a missing persons search and are used for documentation and exploring the areas flown over. 
  • In cases of hazardous material accidents, UAVs are equipped with appropriate measuring systems which determine the contaminants in the air and calculate the direction and speed of propagation.
  • In order to avoid mass panic, drones supply important data for an early warning systems for large crowds of people. 
  • Through their ability to reach altitudes of several thousand meters, they are also in the position to support emergency rescues in the mountains. 
  • UAVs also provide essential advantages for extinguishing fires. Since it is basically possible, in contrast to a helicopter, to fly through flames, quadrocopters equipped with special sensors are used for detecting fire sources and combating forest, house and vehicle fires. 
An md4-1000, specially equipped for fire service operations, during an exercise for measuring hazardous materials at a major fire. Photo: foto112.de

In use at the DLRG

»The DLRG Horneburg was immediately convinced by [...] highly promising operations with a Microdrones UAV«.
<i>Robert Rink from the DLRG Horneburg (German Lifeguard Association)</i>

Whether on high seas or extensive inland waters – quadrocopters are on the right path to revolutionizing the work of the German Lifeguard Association (Deutsche Lebens-Rettungs-Gesellschaft). For example, with the md4-200 from Microdrones, the DLRG Horneburg found the perfect drone for operations on and by the river Elbe. The flying assistant supports the voluntary rescue crew when monitoring bathing and leisure and professional boating and can also be used in cases of flooding disasters.

UAVs can also be used when embankments are tough to reach on the regular path or can only be slowly reached due to weather conditions. Therefore, it’s possible that leaking areas and burst banks are recognized more quickly and important measures are taken. And this by far at a lower cost than the conventional type of embankment surveillance using a helicopter.

The DLRG Horneburg uses an md4-200 from microdrones as a flying assistant for monitoring leisure and professional boating on the Elbe. The drone also supports lifeguards in their role as a guardian angels for swimmers.

Water Rescue with Perfection:
Microdrones and Restube

According to experts, UAVs will be even more significant in rescuing swimmers, surfers and people affected by disaster in the future. This was used by DLRG Horneburg, Microdrones and RESTUBE GmbH as an occasion to start a cooperation project and develop a rescue system which cannot be surpassed in terms of innovation and effectiveness. RESTUBE is at the center of this system, a new type of life buoy which was awarded the 2015 German Founder’s Prize in the start-up category.


»The DLRG, Microdrones and RESTUBE are driven by the same thing: with our knowledge in cooperation, we can bring even more safety to people in and on the water«.
<i>Christopher Fuhrhop, Founder & CEO RESTUBE</i>

In emergency situations, the RESTUBE attached to the quadrocopter is flown to the scene of the accident by lifeguards trained and certified by Microdrones. While the drone holds its position even in the strongest winds via the integrated GPS system, the webcam provides live images from the event. The touch of a button and the drop system specially constructed by Microdrones ensures that the RESTUBE lands in the water near to the affected person. 

After a pull on the trigger, the buoy inflates automatically thanks to a CO2 cartridge. The affected person can hold on to the robust floatation device until a lifeguard arrives and panics less even in life-threatening strong currents. 

Initially only tested in a section of the river Elbe by DLRG Horneburg, the highly efficient type of rescue by quadrocopter and RESTUBE fulfils all the requirements to soon be successfully used in »offshore areas«. Whether on extensive beaches in the North Sea or the Baltic Sea, or on high seas – there is currently hardly any other option to provide people in distress at sea with a simpler, quicker and inexpensive life-saving measure than with that from Microdrones and RESTUBE.

Flying Rescuer – In Wind and Weather

With the new md4-3000 a flight platform is provided by Microdrones, which fulfils all requirements for life-saving operations in emergency situations, missing persons searches, crisis management or civil defense. A real powerhouse, it can move up to 3 kilograms of payload and is thus strong enough to carry a mobile GPS-automated external defibrillator (AED), together with camera, video screen and speakers to the incident site. And all this in rain, snow and dust.

The md4-3000 from Microdrones is a flight system which cannot be beaten in terms of safety and reliability. It is also designed for use in extreme situations, such as after environmental catastrophes, putting the highest demands on the flight platform’s material and technology.

Due to optimized aerodynamics and an increased flight battery pack, the new Microdrones quadrocopter flagship is also suitable for long-distance flights. Just as for flights in high-altitude operations up to 4000 m.

The miniature VTOL aircraft (Vertical Take Off and Landing) reaches its destination by remote control or automatically with the aid of Microdrones GPS waypoint navigation software. As a result, people in distress can be provided with vital medical tools and medication which can be found in a weather and waterproof, aerodynamically-optimized cargo box space.

An Asset for the Future

After a number of different UAV application areas, the development of »drones for emergencies« is a particular coup. With regard to the increasing number of emergency cases like heart attacks and difficulties of getting quick help from doctors on the ground, the use of intelligent drones will be increasingly found in this area. It is also anticipated that medical care in disaster zones, saving people who are in distress at sea, crisis management and civil defense using drones will gain importance. Finally, the use of the innovative flight platform will contribute to rescuing the most important commodity on Earth: life.


You’ll find more background information on the cooperation between the DLRG Horneburg and the company RESTUBE in two interesting interviews.

Interview with Robert Rink from DLRG Horneburg

Interview with Christopher Fuhrhop, RESTUBE GmbH