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This paper presents a new method for injecting human inputs into mixed-initiative interactions between humans and robots. The method is based on a model-predictive control (MPC) formulation, which inevitably involves predicting the system (robot dynamics as well as human input) into the future. These predictions are complicated by the fact that the human is interacting with the robot, causing the prediction method itself to have an effect on future human inputs. We investigate and develop different prediction schemes, including fixed and variable horizon MPCs and human input estimators of different orders. Through a search-and-rescue-inspired human operator study, we arrive at the conclusion that the simplest prediction methods outperform the more complex ones, i.e., in this particular case, less is indeed more.
Date of Publication: June 2013