Trail Scouts is a wayfinding application for recreational hikes when on a hike. Imagine planning a safe, worry-free hiking trip. This requires a lot of research and experience that many beginners lack. The possibility of wandering off-course and getting lost causes fear and anxiety, preventing hikers from exploring new trails. Coming into contact with an unexpected animal, person, or trail obstacle can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Trail Scouts guides the hikers and helps avoid all such obstacles with the help of a bird-like drone and a mobile application to eliminate fear of the unknown and give them the peace of mind they need.
We prepared a set of questions and asked them to recreational hikers we knew. We wanted to know their hike experiences and problems. Based on the findings from the interviews, each one of us came up with 10 ideas each which we arranged in the form of cards. We categorised these cards in categories and then rated them to shortlist the top-rated ideas. This phase included letting go off a lot of ideas we thought would really work and bringing back cards as wildcards. After careful research and observations from interviews, we found that the hikers needed a real-time navigation and monitoring system that would take hikers where they want to go, based on what they like and dislike.
The application’s use is two-fold. For new users, the application saves initial user and drone settings. The application works only when connected to the drone. Second, when the hiker is on the hike, he can search for the hike in the application and the drone would suggest the safe and unsafe paths as they come. The user can also connect with friends and track their locations on the hike. From the initial prototype feedback, we found out that hikers also wanted to keep track of their previous treks. So we added a tab for recent tracks. The user can also set other user preferences like scenic views, water bodies, wildlife and landmarks to help the drone suggest a more likely path.