The Use of Real-Time Ground-to-Air Video During Aeromedical Response to Traffic Crashes

Report No: 03-CR1

Published in 2002

About the report:

Deteriorating traffic conditions and resulting safety problems on I-81 have long been a topic of concern. This, coupled with increasing traffic congestion along this largely four-lane highway, has resulted in increased crash rates. Emergency medical service (EMS) responders summoned to motor vehicle crashes along I-81 are trained volunteers with experience in dealing with motor vehicle crashes but do not have critical care treatment abilities. In serious crashes additional expertise is needed at the crash site to prevent disability or death. In these cases, a medical transport helicopter is summoned to the site to bring critical level care to victims and transport them rapidly to the nearest trauma center. A significant number of motor vehicle crash victims along the I-81 corridor are eventually transferred to the University of Virginia Hospital, the closest level 1 trauma center, by the Pegasus medical evacuation helicopter staffed by specially trained critical care providers. Since critical care trained providers, doctors, and nurses cannot be present at each crash site, the next best situation would be if such personnel could see the crash site remotely through ground-to-air video and be able to give treatment advice to EMS responders. To this end, companies with "off-the shelf" technology that could potentially work for this project were identified and contacted, and they subsequently provided information and/or demonstrations of their products. The project director made a determination as to whether the equipment could perform in a technically acceptable fashion and whether the company was willing to make any modifications to ensure proper configuration of the equipment. A public demonstration of the identified and customized equipment was held at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport in July 2001 and was attended by representative stakeholders, end-users, and members of the media. The demonstrated equipment performed in accordance with all expectations. Thus, acceptable technology exists for the deployment phase of this study to proceed.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


  • Debra Perina

Last updated: December 1, 2023

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