/Scheduling Operator Attention for Multi-Robot Control

Scheduling Operator Attention for Multi-Robot Control

Shih-Yi Chien, Michael Lewis, Siddharth Mehrotra, Nathan Brooks and Katia Sycara
Conference Paper, EEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC’12), Seoul, Korea, October, 2012

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.


A wide class of multirobot control tasks involves operator interactions with individual robots. Where the robots’ actions are independent, as for example in some foraging tasks, the operator can interact with robots sequentially in a round robin fashion. If the need for interaction can be detected by the robot through self- reflection, the robot could communicate its need for interaction to the operator. The resulting human-robot system would form a queuing system in which the operator is the server and the queue of robots requesting interaction, the jobs. As a queuing system, performance could be optimized using standard techniques, providing the operator’s attention could be appropriately directed. An earlier study found that Human- Robot Interaction (HRI) performance was improved by communicating requests for interaction to the operator, however, a first-in-first-out (FIFO) aid showing a single request at a time led to poorer performance than one showing the entire (Open) queue. The current experiment compared Open-queue and FIFO conditions from the first experiment with a Priority-queue using a shortest job first (SJF) discipline known to maximize throughput. Performance in the Priority- queue condition was statistically indistinguishable from the best performance for all measures except those for missed victims where it was intermediate between FIFO (best) and Open-queue. Both of the other conditions produced poorest performance on some measures. The results suggest that operator attention can be effectively scheduled allowing the use of scheduling algorithms to improve the efficiency of HRI.

BibTeX Reference
author = {Shih-Yi Chien and Michael Lewis and Siddharth Mehrotra and Nathan Brooks and Katia Sycara},
title = {Scheduling Operator Attention for Multi-Robot Control},
booktitle = {EEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC’12), Seoul, Korea},
year = {2012},
month = {October},