This FAQ is adapted from questions asked during usability testing.
1. How do you make sure other people won’t harass the person who is walking?
If we had more time, I’d have loved to add a feature that would alert the user when new heat signatures entered the camera’s view. Since we expect this to be used at times of low pedestrian traffic, it would be easier to identify strangers coming near the user as there would be fewer people in the area.
2. What about privacy for others that may be videotaped by the drone?
We are relying on current drone laws that allow recording in public spaces as being in a public spaces is effectively giving up your right to privacy.
3. What if somebody wanted to damage the drone?
An “escape” feature if the drone is autonomous to prevent tampering.The drone flies at a height of 20’-30’ above ground level, similar to a streetlight height, to prevent tampering. Video would automatically back up to the cloud so that tampering with the drone would not corrupt footage.
4. Can an alarm go off when others get too close to the user?We have received other user feedback that alarms would worry them, as it may bring unwanted attention.
If we had more time, we would consider flashing lights and unique sounds to alert others, similar to the way an emergency responder would appear if an emergency were to happen.
5. What happens if your phone battery dies?
If we had more time, we’d love to incorporate physical command operations for cases where your phone dies or you lose access to it.
6. How does the drone respond when “something happens” to the user?
The drone is not focused on responding to emergencies (aka the moment of crisis), but rather preventing the emergencies from occurring through preventative measures like better environmental lighting and video recording/communication with trusted contacts.For “the moment of crisis”, we are relying on educating the user about built-in emergency features like iPhone’s “SOS” feature, where you can hold two buttons down for 5 seconds to alert emergency responders. Our thinking is that the built-in features would be much more effective/quicker to access as some users expressed concerns about the time it takes to unlock your phone, enter your passcode, dial the number, and finally call the police.If we had more time, we’d love to add some physical motions the drone could read and respond to (for example, a specific physical command could make the drone send a call to the local emergency responders).
7. What about a pooling/drone-sharing option?
Absolutely. We’ll call it “Firefly Pool”, assuming Uber doesn’t care if we steal that. ;)