Fessonia: a method for real-time estimation of human operator workload using behavioural entropy

Paraskevas Chatzithanos, Grigoris Nikolaou, Rustam Stolkin, Manolis Chiou

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


This paper addresses the problem of the human operator cognitive workload estimation while controlling a robot. Being capable of assessing, in real-time, the operator's workload could help prevent calamitous events from occurring. This workload estimation could enable an AI to make informed decisions to assist or advise the operator, in an advanced human-robot interaction framework. We propose a method, named Fessonia, for real-time cognitive workload estimation from multiple parameters of an operator's driving behaviour via the use of behavioural entropy. Fessonia is comprised of: a method to calculate the entropy (i.e. unpredictability) of the operator driving behaviour profile; the Driver Profile Update algorithm which adapts the entropy calculations to the evolving driving profile of individual operators; and a Warning And Indication System that uses workload estimations to issue advice to the operator. Fessonia is evaluated in a robot teleoperation scenario that incorporated cognitively demanding secondary tasks to induce varying degrees of workload. The results demonstrate the ability of Fessonia to estimate different levels of imposed workload. Additionally, it is demonstrated that our approach is able to detect and adapt to the evolving driving profile of the different operators. Lastly, based on data obtained, a decrease in entropy is observed when a warning indication is issued, suggesting a more attentive approach focused on the primary navigation task.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2021


  • cs.RO


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