Towards the principled study of variable autonomy in mobile robots

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Colleges, School and Institutes


Safety critical and demanding tasks (e.g search and rescue or hazardous environments inspection), can benefit from robotic systems that offer a spectrum of control modes. These can range from direct teleoperation to full autonomy. This paper describes a pilot-study experiment in which a variable autonomy robot completes a navigation task. It explores the comparative
performances of the human-robot system at different autonomy levels under different sets of conditions. This is done from a Mixed-Initiative system investigation perspective. Sensor noise was added to degrade robot performance, while a secondary task induced varying degrees of additional workload on the human operator. Carrying out these experiments and analyzing
the initial results, has highlighted the profound complexities of designing tasks, conditions, and performance metrics which are: principled; eliminate confounding factors; and yield scientifically rigorous insights into the intricacies of a collaborative system that combines both human and robot intelligences. A key contribution of this paper is to describe the lessons learned from attempting
these experiments, and to suggest a variety of guidelines for other researchers to consider when designing experiments in this context. Copyright © 2015 by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. The 2015 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics SMC 2015


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC2015)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015
EventIEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics SMC 2015 - City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Duration: 9 Oct 201512 Oct 2015


ConferenceIEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics SMC 2015
CountryHong Kong