Imperial College London

21st century ambulance wins design award

redesigned ambulance

The transport award for the 2012 Designs of the Year Awards, announced on Tuesday 24 April, went to the redesign for the emergency ambulance.

The transport award for the Designs of the Year 2012 awards, announced on Tuesday 24 April, went to the redesign for the emergency ambulance by the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and the Vehicle Design Department at the Royal College of Art.

Imperial academics, alongside paramedics and patients, contributed to the winning design by offering clinical expertise to redesign the interior of the standard emergency ambulance. As a result, the ambulance has been designed to reconfigure the layout of the patient treatment space to give 360° access to the patient and improve clinical efficiency. A key feature includes wireless exchange of patient records and vital signs data en route to the hospital, and so reducing lengthy handover procedures and the potential for errors. The new interior is also designed to be easier to clean, and modular equipment packs containing specific treatment consumables have been incorporated, improving clinical performance, infection control and stock control.   

Jeremy Myerson, Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design said:

"The Design Museum award is a real boost for the RCA research and design teams behind the new ambulance. It also raises the profile of co-design as this is very much a project developed in partnership with paramedics, clinicians and patients.”

Lord Ara Darzi, who led Imperial’s contribution to the project, added:

“Effective use of design can enhance the translation of technology and provide higher quality of care for patients, citizens and consumers. This was a wonderful project for Imperial to be part of and it clearly demonstrates the impact that can be made if clinicians, researchers and designers from different disciplines collaborate together. We hope that this award-winning new ambulance design now becomes a reality for the future.”

The ambulance was competing against two different types of electric cars and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner (among others), and was awarded the top prize by the jury that was chaired by Designer Ilse Crawford and included newspaper proprietor Evgeny Lebedev. The overall winner for the Design of the Year 2012 was the London 2012 Olympic Torch.

The Design Museum’s Design Awards showcase the most innovative and progressive designs from around the world, spanning seven categories: Architecture, Digital, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Product and Transport.

All the shortlisted and winning design will be on show at the Design Museum until 4 July.