Levels of Automation for Human Influence of Robot Swarms

Phillip Walker, Steven Nunnally, Michael Lewis, Nilanjan Chakraborty and Katia Sycara
Conference Paper, HFES, San Diego, CA (Best Paper Award), September, 2014

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Autonomous swarm algorithms and human-robot interaction (HRI) have both attracted increasing attention from researchers in recent years. However, HRI has rarely extended beyond single robots or small multi-robot teams. While one of the benefits of robot swarms is their robust capabilities and the ability of their distributed algorithms to deal autonomously with the complex interactions amongst swarm members, there is undoubtedly a need for humans to influence such swarms in some circumstances—especially when these swarms are operating in unknown or hostile environments. In this paper, we approach the problem of human-swarm interaction (HSI) using previous research in levels of automation (LOAs) in HRI. We create a target searching task whereby the swarm can operate at two different levels of autonomy: an autonomous dispersion algorithm, or user-defined goto points. We investigate what environmental conditions are conducive to different amounts of human influence, and at what point further human intervention has a detrimental effect on the swarm’s performance. The results show that for complex environments containing numerous obstacles and small passageways, there is indeed a need for some human influence; however, after a certain point, further influence causes performance degradation.

author = {Phillip Walker and Steven Nunnally and Michael Lewis and Nilanjan Chakraborty and Katia Sycara},
title = {Levels of Automation for Human Influence of Robot Swarms},
booktitle = {HFES, San Diego, CA (Best Paper Award)},
year = {2014},
month = {September},
} 2017-09-13T10:38:53-04:00