“Absolutely by autonomous air,” Bentley said. “That’s
a concept that we’re working on. That’s of interest
A working group is looking at the limitations and
“One question is, is it ethical? Could you put a person in a machine and have it leave you?” he said.
In mid-October, the Navy joined with the Army and
Air Force in a demonstration at Fort Dix, N.J., that paired
an unmanned K-Max helicopter and a robotic, autonomous ground vehicle to evacuate a stretcher-borne
mannequin. And while larger unmanned aerial vehicles
could carry patients, ONR sees smaller drones useful to
transport medical supplies.
One lesson from the RIMPAC experiment is that the
anesthesia and sedation capability might work better
outside the ACCS, Bentley said, perhaps as an optional
modular device attached by a cable.
“That way, we can mix and match a little bit,” he said,
noting not all casualties will require anesthesia or sedation. If one piece breaks, it can be replaced, he noted,
although having separable parts also can make it harder
to ensure no piece is missing.
A clinical trial already is looking at the sedation
system and how it can determine the depth of a
patient’s sedation, something difficult to determine
“This system has a way to quantify that based on
how the brain is working,” Bentley said. It also may
guard against too much anesthesia being used. The
trial also will look at whether it can supply anesthesia,
which could support surgery if the casualty “takes a
turn for the worse” or is held longer and surgery is
needed, he said.
The sedation and anesthesia would be delivered via
IV, rather than a mask, a method commonly used in
Europe but not in the United States.
ONR continues to develop the system and harden
it for expeditionary use but without adding much
more weight, Bentley said. It plans to build in some
longer-distance communication capabilities that work
over Navy and Marine Corps, and then Army and Air
Force radio systems.
It may be at least two years before the ACCS reach-es advanced development and obtains required FDA