Collaborative Control: A Robot-Centric Model for Vehicle Teleoperation

Terrence W. Fong
doctoral dissertation, tech. report CMU-RI-TR-01-34, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, November, 2001

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Telerobotic systems have traditionally been designed and solely operated from a human point of view. Though this approach suffices for some domains, it is sub-optimal for tasks such as operating multiple vehicles or controlling planetary rovers. Thus, I believe it is worthwhile to examine a new system model for teleoperation: collaborative control.

In collaborative control, a human and a robot collaborate to perform tasks and to achieve common goals. Instead of a supervisor dictating to a subordinate, the human and the robot engage in dialogue to exchange information, to ask questions, and to resolve differences. Instead of serving the human as a mere tool, the robot can operate more like a partner. With this approach, the robot has more freedom in execution and is more likely to find good solutions when there are problems.

With collaborative control, the human is able to function as a resource for the robot, providing information and processing just like other system modules. In particular, the robot can ask the human questions as it works, to obtain assistance with cognition and perception during task execution. This enables the human to compensate for inadequacies of autonomy, but does not require time-critical nor situation-critical response.

Collaborative control is both a novel and a useful paradigm for teleoperation. Collaborative control is novel because it uses dialogue as a framework for coordination, to direct joint task performance and to focus attention where it is needed. Collaborative control is useful because it provides an efficient mechanism for adaptation, to adjust autonomy and human-robot interaction to fit situational needs and user capabilities.

This thesis investigates the numerous human-robot interaction and system design issues raised by collaborative control, describes the implementation of a dialogue-based user interface and control architecture, and examines the use of this new approach in several vehicle teleoperation applications and a user study.

collaborative control, human-robot collaboration, human-robot communication, human-robot interaction, man-machine sysems, mobile robots, PDA interface, remote driving, robot control architecture, safeguarded teleoperation, vehicle teleoperation

Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Vision and Autonomous Systems Center
Associated Project(s): Tactical Mobile Robotics
Number of pages: 198

Text Reference
Terrence W. Fong, "Collaborative Control: A Robot-Centric Model for Vehicle Teleoperation," doctoral dissertation, tech. report CMU-RI-TR-01-34, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, November, 2001

BibTeX Reference
   author = "Terrence W Fong",
   title = "Collaborative Control: A Robot-Centric Model for Vehicle Teleoperation",
   booktitle = "",
   school = "Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University",
   month = "November",
   year = "2001",
   number= "CMU-RI-TR-01-34",
   address= "Pittsburgh, PA",