In the last years, the adoption rate of personal and commercial drones has exponentially increased. This rapid growth is both exciting and frightening. On the one hand, drones are presenting new opportunities, with applications ranging from entertainment to delivery, supporting people with special needs, sports, pedestrian guidance, agriculture, and even search-and-rescue. On the other hand, many negative issues are arising around the adoption of drones and what it means to have them in our environments. The success and acceptability of this technology will depend on how well it can be used, integrated, and made acceptable to people. Many of these challenges fall in the realm of research in human-computer and human-robot interaction.

In this multidisciplinary workshop, we propose to bring together students, experienced researchers, and practitioners from diverse areas. We expect this workshop will raise interest to researchers from fields including, interaction techniques, autonomous vehicles, robotics, ubicomp, design, and cognitive science. In particular, we will foster discussions around interaction techniques, design, feedback strategies, automation, control, trust, as well as privacy and ethical issues in HDI research. These topics are relevant to ensure the successful integration of the technology.

Through two hands-on sessions and group discussions with experts from both academia and industry, our goal is to address key questions around the design and methodologies, and bring a community together to develop new approaches for future human-drone interaction research. While, HRI research has been growing over the years, only few papers are presented at the CHI conferences. This workshop will give the opportunity for researchers in the HRI field to discover CHI and participate in our community.

This workshop will lead to a special edition of the THRI journal to bridge the gap between the HCI and HRI communities in terms of methodologies for human-drone interaction research.

Previous similar workshops:


Call for participants

Drones are becoming increasingly ubiquitous to our environments. Many applications have appeared such as using drones as companions or producing 3D-data visualization. Such applications led to new challenges in the design and development of drone interfaces. In this first international workshop on Human-Drone Interaction (HDI), through hands-on sessions, and group discussions with experts, we give this emerging field a platform by bringing together researchers and practitioners. We seek to structure previous research efforts, identify new research directions, and current advances and challenges in this novel research area.

We seek high quality contributions that explore the advances and challenges in HDI and that suggest new ways of interacting with drones. Submissions are invited but not limited to the following topics:

  • Novel applications
  • Novel interaction techniques
  • Manual control to autonomous applications
  • Flying user interfaces
  • First-person view flying
  • Creating everyday interaction with drones
  • Increasing safety and security
  • Communicating drone interactivity
  • Accessibility

Authors are invited to submit a 2 to 6-page position (excluding references), concept or work-in-progress paper following the CHI Extended Abstract format, on or before February 12th 19th, 2019 at Easychair.

The proceedings of the workshop will be published on the website and through HAL/, which is indexed by Google scholar. Selected authors will be invited to submit to a special issue in the THRI journal.

At least one author must attend the workshop. All participants must register for the workshop and at least one day of the conference.


Submission summary



  • 8:00-8:10 Opening
  • 8:10-8:25 13 minutes for 1 minute madness - 1 slide per poster
  • 8:25-8:50 Keynote
    by Prof. Roel Vertegaal from Queens University
  • 8:50-10:30 Presentations in Pecha Kucha format 6:40 talk
    Short oral presentations of the papers.
  • 10:20-11:00 Coffee break
  • 11:00-11:30 Posters session 1
  • 11:30-12:00 Posters session 2
  • 12:00-12:15 Making groups for the Group activity on HDI challenges
  • 12:15-13:15 Group activity
    The activity will focus on discussing current and future research problems in HDI, and the upcoming steps to address the research problems, which will be presented by each group.
  • 13:15-14:00 Summary and Closing
    The closing session will serve for summarising Group activity session, collecting feedback about the workshop and gauging the participants’ interest in having a journal special issue on this topic (see "Post-Workshop Plans").
  • 14:00-15:30 Lunch



Prof. Roel Vertegaal Queens University
Human Interaction with Drone Swarms: From Flying LEGO to Self-levitating Programmable Matter
Much of the research in Human-Drone Interaction (HDI) has focused on individual users interacting more smoothly with single drones. The purpose of interacting with a drone is usually no different from the original purpose of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV): To film their surroundings and perform reconnaissance, to perform search and rescue missions, or just to play. My work has focused on an entirely different category of HDI: The use of drone swarms as a means of developing the first truly 3D programmable matter. This effort does not think of drones as UAVs, but rather as self-levitating building blocks that perform interactive physical InfoViz. The work is aimed at countering a future of Virtual Reality that aims to entirely envelope the user’s senses. Programmable matter, like original LEGO blocks and 3D printing, would free up the senses to explore data physically, and always within a real world context. A case in point is our work on Flying LEGO. Based on the Bitdrones platform, Flying LEGO first captured the hearts and minds of young users at the LEGO World Expo in Copenhagen 2018. I will share some results of a study in which children interacted with a drone swarm, and outline a research agenda that will lead to interactive programmable matter that some day will be good enough to rival 3D printed objects.

Dr. Roel Vertegaal is one of Canada's most influential designers of future interactive technologies. He is President and CEO of Human Media Lab Inc., an international design consultancy firm and Professor at Queen’s University in Canada. Roel studied Electronic Music at Utrecht Conservatory in The Netherlands, holds a Master's in Computer Science and PhD in Human Factors. Roel developed the concepts of Attention-aware Interfaces, Organic User Interfaces and Real Reality Interfaces. He pioneered the eye contact sensor and attention-aware smartphone, now in the iPhone X, spherical (2008) and cylindrical (2012) computers, 3D live-sized holographic videoconferencing (TeleHuman 2012), the first flexible paper computer (PaperWindows 2004), foldable and flexible smartphones (PaperPhone 2010, PaperFold (2013), Reflex 2016) and the paper tablet pc (PaperTab, 2012). His empirical contributions range from studies on the effect of eye contact on turn taking in group conversations, to Fitts' Law studies of flexible display interactions.


Post-workshop plans

Interacting with drones is a topic which has recently sparked much interest in the HCI community. Yet the HDI community is sparse and this workshop will give an opportunity for researchers in the field to meet and discuss the future of the field. We expect this workshop to influence future research in this area and help establish well-needed methodologies for HCI research with drones.

After the workshop, the organizers will prepare a report on the workshop for submission to ACM Interactions Magazine. All accepted submissions will be published on the workshop website and on HAL which is indexed by Google scholar. Selected position papers' authors will be invited to submit for review longer, revised versions of their submissions including new material, together with a collaboratively produced paper. We plan to hold an open call in a special issue of a journal. The editors-in-chief of ACM THRI have already been contacted and we are in the process of discussing the details of a human-drone interaction special issue to be published early 2020.


Proceedings and papers

Proceedings of the iHDI - International workshop on Human-Drone Interaction
CHI ’19 Extended Abstracts, http://hdi.famnit.upr.si, May 5, 2019, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Link to the proceedings on HAL. Searchable by content and authors.

Individual papers



Anke Brock

ENAC, Interactive Informatics Team, France
Email: anke.brock@enac.fr
Website: www.ankebrock.com

Jessica Cauchard

Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Email: jcauchard@acm.org
Website: www.jessicacauchard.com

Markus Funk

Technische Universität Darmstadt, Telecooperation Lab, Germany
Email: funk@tk.tu-darmstadt.de
Website: www.makufunk.de

Jérémie Garcia

ENAC, Interactive Informatics Team, France
Email: jeremie.garcia@enac.fr
Website: recherche.enac.fr/~jeremie.garcia/

Mohamed Khamis

University of Glasgow, Glasgow Interactive Systems Section, UK
Email: mohamed.khamis@glasgow.ac.uk
Website: www.mkhamis.com

Matjaž Kljun

University of Primorska, HICUP Lab, Slovenia
Email: matjaz.kljun@upr.si
Website: pim.famnit.upr.si