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Digital Futures Drone Arena

About the project

The Digital Futures Drone Arena is a concrete as well as a conceptual platform where key players in the digital transformation and society join in a conversation about the role and impact of mobile robotics, autonomous systems, machine learning, and human-computer interaction. The platform takes the form of a novel aerial drone testbed, where drone competitions take place periodically to understand and explore the unfolding relationships between humans and drones. Aerial drones are used as an opportunity to create a foundation that lives past the end of this project, useful as a long-standing basis for testing technical advances and to study, design, and envision novel relationships between humans, robots, and their functioning principles.


Few robot testbeds exist to experiment with application-level functionality. The Digital Futures Drone Arena bridges this gap by providing an easy-to-use programmable drone testbed for experimenting with novel drone applications and explore the relations between humans and drones. The latter activity is driven by the concept of a ‘soma’ or the lived and felt body as it exists, moves, and senses in the world. The theory provides an ethical stance on the soma such that it draws attention to how technologies and interactions encourage certain movements and practices while discouraging others. As a critique of technology design and use, somaesthetics addresses the limited and limiting ways in which we sit at desks and tap away at keyboards. When we interact closely with drones, we have to adapt ourselves to how we control them and move around them.

Crossdisciplinary collaboration

The researchers in the team represent the Connected Intelligence Unit, RISE and the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, SU.

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Picture of Luca Mottola

Luca Mottola

Senior researcher, Connected Intelligence Unit at RISE, Co-PI of research project Digital Futures Drone Arena at Digital Futures

+46 (0)73 801 52 67
Photo of Airi Lampinen

Airi Lampinen

Associate Professor, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) at Stockholm University, PI of research project Layering Trust in Intimate Digital Health Technologies, Demonstrator project: Digital Futures Drone Arena, Co-PI of research project Layering Trust at Digital Futures, Supervisor for postdoc project Relational Aspects of Care in Intimate Digital Health Technologies at Digital Futures

+46 08 16 16 19