The military announced plans to use robotic medics in combat zones to rescue injured soldiers, according to Major General Steve Jones, chief of the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
Jones spoke at a conference near the Pentagon sponsored by the Association of the U.S. Army earlier this week.
“We already use robots on the battlefield today to examine IEDs, to detonate them,” he said. “With some minor adaptation, we could take that same technology and use it to extract casualties that are under fire.”
The Pentagon has been toying with the idea of unmanned ambulances for years, and has even developed an unmanned helicopter ambulance called The Black Knight.
Rescuing wounded soldiers from battle is an obvious difficulty in combat. Unmanned military vehicles, such as The Black Knight, make it easier to rescue wounded soldiers from hard to reach places.
The unmanned vehicles can also be used to deliver antibiotics and medical supplies to units in combat.
“What happens when a member of the team comes down with cellulitis or pneumonia? We have got to use telemedicine to tele-mentor them on the diagnosis and treatment,” he said. “You don’t have to evacuate the casualties, so the team can continue its mission.”
Jones also discussed plans to equip field soldiers with sensors to measure vital signs.
“If you see a casualty whose heart rate is way up, whose respiratory rate is way up, that may be an indication they lost a lot of blood, and need treatment now, as opposed to a casualty whose vital signs are stable and you wouldn’t have to treat as quickly,” he said
The sensors could make recovering casualties a quicker and more accurate process.
Jones said the Army Medical Research and Material Command is currently working on developing the new technology.