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Single Operator Control of Coordinated Robot Teams

Yehuda Elmaliach. Single Operator Control of Coordinated Robot Teams. Master's Thesis, Bar Ilan University,2004.

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Abstract

There is growing recognition that many applications of robots will require a human operator to supervise and control multiple robots that collaborate to achieve the operator's goals. However, the bulk of existing work in this area assumes that robots are independent of each other, and thus ignores key challenges and opportunities in monitoring and operating tightly-coordinating teams. This thesis takes steps to address these open issues. First, we address the challenge of effectively monitoring multiple coordinating robots. We introduce a graphical socially-attentive display that explicitly shows the state of coordination in the team, in terms of the robots' state with respect to each other. As a result, the operator can easily detect coordination failures, even before these cause overall failure in the task. Second, we show that in resolving contingencies (call-requests), an opportunity exists for taking advantage of the robots' teamwork, to allow the robots to actively assist the operator. We propose a distributed approach to call-request resolution (including two variations), and an implementation method for behavior-based robots. This implementation method allows the operator to quickly switch control between robots, even while they are active. We evaluate all of these techniques in several multi-robot tasks, in experiments with up to 25 operators, each controlling multiple robots. The results show significant quantitative and qualitative improvements in task completion times, number of coordination failures, and performance consistency across operators.

Additional Information

BibTeX

@MastersThesis{yehuda-msc, 
  author = 	 {Yehuda Elmaliach}, 
  title = 	 {Single Operator Control of Coordinated Robot Teams}, 
  school = 	 {{B}ar {I}lan {U}niversity}, 
  year = 	 {2004}, 
  OPTkey = 	 {}, 
  OPTtype = 	 {}, 
  OPTaddress = 	 {}, 
  OPTmonth = 	 {}, 
  OPTnote = 	 {}, 
   abstract = {
There is growing recognition that many applications of robots will 
require a human operator to supervise and control multiple robots that 
collaborate to achieve the operator's goals. However, the bulk of 
existing work in this area assumes that robots are independent of each 
other, and thus ignores key challenges and opportunities in monitoring 
and operating tightly-coordinating teams. This thesis takes steps to 
address these open issues. First, we address the challenge of 
effectively monitoring multiple coordinating robots. We introduce a 
graphical \emph{socially-attentive} display that explicitly shows the 
state of coordination in the team, in terms of the robots' state with 
respect to each other. As a result, the operator can easily detect 
coordination failures, even before these cause overall failure in the 
task. Second, we show that in resolving contingencies 
(\emph{call-requests}), an opportunity exists for taking advantage of 
the robots' teamwork, to allow the robots to actively assist the 
operator. We propose a distributed approach to call-request resolution 
(including two variations), and an implementation method for 
behavior-based robots. This implementation method allows the operator 
to quickly switch control between robots, even while they are active. 
We evaluate all of these techniques in several multi-robot tasks, in 
experiments with up to 25 operators, each controlling multiple 
robots. The results show significant quantitative and qualitative 
improvements in task completion times, number of coordination 
failures, and performance consistency across operators. 
}, 
  wwwnote = {}, 
 OPTannote = 	 {} 
} 

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