Introduction - why we need to communicate better
Surveys asking the public their views on the use of drones suggest low levels of awareness and interest.
There has been minimal information of how and where they might be used in logistics making the use of drones difficult to relate to everyday lives.
The UK Research Institute's (UKRI) Future Flight Vision and Roadmap sees drones making deliveries in UK towns and cities in the very near future.
Generating wider discussion and debate is therefore essential but challenging as this is not a prominent subject and is difficult to conceptualize with drones more generally associated with hobby, photography and military uses.
See the following for more in depth review:
Using Virtual Reality
VR used in gazebo in town centres
We use virtual reality (VR) to bring logistics drones into places that are familiar to people - taking the VR to high streets, inviting passing members of the public to experience the drones flying over the location where they are sitting.
The VR provides participants with an idea of how the drones might look look and sound in the absence of direct experience.
Participants are invited to reflect on what delivery drones mean to them through a short survey.
The approach was piloted on the Bournemouth University campus before being used in Bournemouth and Boscombe town centres and Southampton City Centre where a total of 241 people took part.
See our poster presentation for more details:
Urban Transitions Conference 2022: Deliveries by drone? Using virtual reality to extend public debate
Video showing drones flying over Talbot Campus, Bournemouth University
Delivery drone board game - sparking group discussion
Board game pilot at the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences November 2022
The board game is being developed as part of an E-Drone PhD project to to provide a space to share ideas and reflect on the use of delivery drones in a local context providing an effective format for undertaking focus group activities.
The board shows locations around Bournemouth and has been piloted with small groups at a café in Bournemouth but could be adapted to show different localities.
The gameplay involves realistic drone scenarios including choices related to risk, time and energy along with other operational parameters with prompts throughout the game requiring participants to reflect on different aspects of drone deliveries.
A poster presentation of this research is available here:
Development of a digital game
An app based digital game is being created as part of the E-Drone project.
Using the game players can explore the effects of different drone route planning strategies on risk and energy use in the context of an area that is familiar to them.
The current game focuses on Southampton area and utilises risk and energy modelling work undertaken by E-Drone researchers at the University of Southampton and UCL.
Members of the public trying the digital game at Hands on Humanity
Screen shot of digital game - player plots route across an area
Screen shot of digital game - player views the drone overflight