Sharing the Control of Robot Swarms among Multiple Human Operators: A User Study

Genki Miyauchi, Yuri Kaszubowski Lopes, Roderich Gross

In 2023 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Detroit, USA, October 1-5.

Abstract : Simultaneously controlling multiple robot swarms is challenging for a single human operator. When involving multiple operators, however, they can each focus on controlling a specific robot swarm, which helps distribute the cognitive workload. They could also exchange some robots with each other in response to the requirements of the tasks they discover. This paper investigates the ability of multiple operators to dynamically share the control of robot swarms and the effects of different communication types on performance and human factors. A total of 52 participants completed an experiment in which they were randomly paired to form a team. In a 2×2 mixed factorial study, participants were split into two groups by communication type (direct vs. indirect). Both groups experienced different robot-sharing conditions (robot-sharing vs. no-robot-sharing). Results show that although the ability to share robots did not necessarily increase task scores, it allowed the operators to switch between working independently and collaboratively, reduced the total energy consumed by the swarm, and was considered useful by the participants.


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