The design of social drones: A review of studies on autonomous flyers in inhabited environments
Paper i proceeding, 2019

© 2019 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). The design space of social drones, where autonomous flyers operate in close proximity to human users or bystanders, is distinct from use cases involving a remote human operator and/or an uninhabited environment; and warrants foregrounding human-centered design concerns. Recently, research on social drones has followed a trend of rapid growth. This paper consolidates the current state of the art in human-centered design knowledge about social drones through a review of relevant studies, scaffolded by a descriptive framework of design knowledge creation. Our analysis identified three high-level themes that sketch out knowledge clusters in the literature, and twelve design concerns which unpack how various dimensions of drone aesthetics and behavior relate to pertinent human responses. These results have the potential to inform and expedite future research and practice, by supporting readers in defining and situating their future contributions. The materials and results of our analysis are also published in an open online repository that intends to serve as a living hub for a community of researchers and designers working with social drones.

User studies

Drone design

Social drones

Empirical studies

Autonomous agents

Design knowledge

Human-drone interaction



Mehmet Aydin Baytas

Koç Üniversitesi

Damla Cay

Koç Üniversitesi

Yuchong Zhang

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Interaktionsdesign

Mohammad Obaid

University of New South Wales (UNSW)

A.E. Yantaç

Koç Üniversitesi

Morten Fjeld

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Interaktionsdesign

Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
Glasgow, United Kingdom,




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