/Coordinated Multi-Agent Teams and Sliding Autonomy for Large-Scale Assembly

Coordinated Multi-Agent Teams and Sliding Autonomy for Large-Scale Assembly

Brennan Peter Sellner, Frederik Heger, Laura Hiatt, Reid Simmons and Sanjiv Singh
Journal Article, Carnegie Mellon University, Proceedings of the IEEE - Special Issue on Multi-Robot Systems, Vol. 94, No. 7, pp. 1425 - 1444, July, 2006

Download Publication (PDF)

Copyright notice: This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author’s copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.


Recent research in human-robot interaction has investigated the concept of Sliding, or Adjustable, Autonomy, a mode of operation bridging the gap between explicit teleoperation and complete robot autonomy. This work has largely been in single-agent domains ?involving only one human and one robot ?and has not examined the issues that arise in multi-agent domains. Here, we discuss the issues involved in adapting Sliding Autonomy concepts to coordinated multi-agent teams. In our approach, remote human operators have the ability to join, or leave, the team at will to assist the autonomous agents with their tasks (or aspects of their tasks), while not disrupting the team? coordination. Agents model their own and the human operator? performance on sub-tasks, to enable them to determine when to request help from the operator. To validate our approach, we present the results of two experiments. The first evaluates the human/multi-robot team? performance under four different collaboration strategies including complete teleoperation, pure autonomy, and two distinct versions of Sliding Autonomy. The second experiment compares a variety of user interface configurations to investigate how quickly a human operator can attain situational awareness when asked to help. The results of these studies support our belief that by incorporating a remote human operator into multi-agent teams, the team as a whole becomes more robust and efficient.

BibTeX Reference
author = {Brennan Peter Sellner and Frederik Heger and Laura Hiatt and Reid Simmons and Sanjiv Singh},
title = {Coordinated Multi-Agent Teams and Sliding Autonomy for Large-Scale Assembly},
journal = {Proceedings of the IEEE - Special Issue on Multi-Robot Systems},
year = {2006},
month = {July},
volume = {94},
number = {7},
pages = {1425 - 1444},