Need some light? A guardian angel on-demand.
Feeling uncomfortable in dark spaces is not something unknown. Everybody has experienced a discomfort feeling of darkness before. It may be walking down a dark alley or biking on an unlit road.
The reason of this discomfort stems from that darkness impairs our vision and thereby it becomes more difficult for us to anticipate on situations. This discomfort may lead to that we are limiting our movements when darkness falls.
With periods of longer seasonal darkness in Sweden our movements might become more bounded than we desire. Together with the Swedish Research Institute RISE, University of Skövde, and Jönköping University (School of Engineering) on-demand drone lighting solutions are being explored and tested in the municipality of Skara and its citizens. The drone lighting solution is supposed to be an alternative to the significant investments to have fixed lighting installed as well as limiting the environmental impact of having constant lighting in the evenings. The operational flexibility of the on-demand lighting is a great solution for areas where light is limited.
The drone-based infrastructure provides a flexible solution to improve (perceived) safety aspects of its users and to increase motivation and comfort to take other means of cleaner transportation (e.g., bicycles). Jönköping University’s School of Engineering together with the University of Skövde are investigating the users’ perspective of the project by focusing on how different lighting patterns influences the perceived safety aspects in the darkness.
The Swedish Research Institute RISE facilitates the technical aspect of the project by engineering the drones with the desired lighting equipment and desired behaviors of the drones. Other safety features are being explored as well such as collision warnings to the user and remote assistance.
To achieve a widespread acceptance of the drone lighting solution and to make it accessible to everyone, there is a continuous dialogue with prospective users during the project to maximize adoption.
The project is funded by Vinnova to support behavioral-changing solutions that contribute to climate-neutral and healthy travel habits. The project will run until Autumn 2023.