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Lessons learned from usability tests with a collaborative cognitive workspace for human-robot teams

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3 Author(s)
J. L. Marble ; Human, Robot & Remote Syst., Idaho Nat. Eng. & Environ. Lab., Idaho Falls, ID, USA ; D. J. Bruemmer ; D. A. Few

Use of new robotics technologies is challenged by issues of system trust, unknowns regarding how the system will, can, and should be used, and possibilities for human error that may cause harm to the human operator, system, or environment. This paper discusses initial usability tests of a mixed-initiative robotic system. Participants were asked to search a building using a robot equipped with multiple levels of autonomy to identify 3 targets in pre-specified locations. The experiment showed a significant difference between novice and experienced robotic operators especially regarding willingness to use the autonomous capabilities of the robot. Users unfamiliar with teleoperation were more willing to utilize the autonomous capabilities of the robot, while skilled teleoperators preferred and were more efficient when in direct control. Users were almost always able to successfully complete the search task. However, feedback indicates that users, having been given only a cursory explanation of the system, were sometimes confused by robot initiative even though the interface supplied textual explanations. The experiment shows that mixed-initiative interaction may exceed the limitations of either fully autonomous or teleoperated control; however, potential benefits can easily be overshadowed by control challenges inherent to deploying robot-human teams.

Published in:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 2003. IEEE International Conference on  (Volume:1 )

Date of Conference:

5-8 Oct. 2003