The rise of social drones: A constructive design research agenda

Drones are expected to become an increasingly common tool in our everyday lives. They are also predicted to become highly important in supporting people with disabilities. In a research project led by Morten Fjeld, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology will be investigating how social drones are best used and regulated in order to benefit individuals and society as a whole.

Situations where humans and drones interact will increase, as drones may help us with all kinds of activities. They are already a fairly common sight today. But from having been used mainly for filming and photography, there is now a rapidly growing range of uses. Autonomous drones are already used to transport goods, and it is likely that they soon will be working in construction sites, extinguishing fires, cleaning our cities and assisting people with disabilities.

Social drones are expected to be part of society in the same way as cars and technological aids are today. They may also come to be used as personal companions and assistants. What could such interaction look like? The researchers involved in the project will investigate how this development affects both individuals and society as a whole, for example in terms of laws, policies and education. Some of the questions asked by the researchers are: How can you design drones so that their use improves the lives of individuals and society? Is the technology even useful, or do the risks outweigh the benefits?

The researchers at Chalmers will also collaborate with an international team that has previously excelled in research within human-computer interaction.

Project members:
Sara Ljungblad, University of Gothenburg

1 January 2020 until 31 December 2024
Principal investigator
Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation