Design of Robot-Operator Interaction for Disaster Situations

Period of Performance: 06/21/2012 - 08/22/2013


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Traclabs, Inc.
100 North East Loop 410, Suite 520
San Antonio, TX 78216
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Texas A&M University
400 Harvey Mitchell Pkwy South Suite 300, 3578 TAMUS
College Station, TX 77845
Institution POC


Currently Unmanned Ground Vehicles are teleoperated, requiring operators to be both vigilant and fully engaged throughout the operation. While increasing the level of autonomy of UGVs potentially reduces both the workload and cognitive load on operators, realizing the promise of autonomy is difficult in deployment. Remote operation of UGVs is subject to unreliable communication and mobility challenges similar to robot operations in other real-world operations such as disaster response. Achieving full autonomy in the face of these challenges is both a hard technical problem and does not take advantage of valuable human capability. This project proposes to address these challenges by developing principles and techniques for the design of robot operator interfaces for disaster situations. The proposed tools for improved robot-operator interaction combine techniques for improved interface design with flexible task sharing and information exchange between operators and robots. Improvement is demonstrated in disaster scenarios using a combination of performance measures.