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AIC Seminar Series

An Object-Based Interaction for the Operation of Multiple Field Robots

Hank JonesAerospace Robotics Laboratory (ARL), Stanford University[Home Page]

Date:  Thursday, October 10th 2002 at 4:00pm

Location:  EJ228  (Directions)


Note: This talk discusses a project that utilizes the Open Agent Architecture (OAA), developed at SRI. Today's field robots, such as the Mars Sojourner rover or the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, work alone to accomplish dirty, dull, or dangerous missions. However, the design specifications for future missions call for multiple robots to work together to perform complex tasks. Although the success of this cooperation certainly will require significant advances in artificial intelligence and autonomy for the robots, the important role of the human operator in such a system has been somewhat overlooked. A user-centered approach to design the human-robot interaction is desired. Unfortunately, there are no user settings to study because no multiple-robot systems have been deployed. As an alternative, this research sought a surrogate setting that could be studied to inform the early interaction designs for multiple-robot systems. Police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams were chosen as this setting, and an ethnographic study of SWAT commanders was conducted. For tasking and localization of their units, SWAT commanders were observed to utilize dialogues based on shared physical objects in their environment. Concepts from the interdisciplinary field of Remote and Distributed Work were applied for the first time to robotics. Using the lessons learned through the surrogate setting, a human-robot interaction was developed for the Micro Autonomous Rovers platform in the Aerospace Robotics Laboratory at Stanford University. This interaction is built around localization and tasking dialogues that focus on the physical objects sensed by the robots. In this way, a single operator can readily coordinate the actions of multiple robots. The presentation will conclude with a video of the robots in operation using a 3-D graphical user interface to the object-based interaction.

   Bio for Hank Jones

Hank Jones is a soon-to-graduate PhD candidate in Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, working in the Aerospace Robotics Laboratory (ARL). He was the co-leader of the ARL’s autonomous helicopter project, where his primary contribution was the development of a point-and-click task-level interaction for the operator interface. Hank has recently designed and developed operator interfaces for three other PhD thesis projects in the ARL through the course of his own research. His primary interest is the application of user-centered design principles to robotics and embedded systems.

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