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A crucial skill for fluent action meshing in human team activity is a learned and calculated selection of anticipatory actions. We believe that the same holds for robotic teammates, if they are to perform in a similarly fluent manner with their human counterparts. In this work, we describe a model for human-robot joint action, and propose an adaptive action selection mechanism for a robotic teammate, which makes anticipatory decisions based on the confidence of their validity and their relative risk. We conduct an analysis of our method, predicting an improvement in task efficiency compared to a purely reactive process. We then present results from a study involving untrained human subjects working with a simulated version of a robot using our system. We show a significant improvement in best-case task efficiency when compared to a group of users working with a reactive agent, as well as a significant difference in the perceived commitment of the robot to the team and its contribution to the team's fluency and success. By way of explanation, we raise a number of fluency metric hypotheses, and evaluate their significance between the two study conditions. [All rights reserved Elsevier].
Date of Publication: Oct. 2007