A Blended Human-Robot Shared Control Framework to Handle Drift and Latency

Anas Abou Allaban, Velin Dimitrov, Taşkın Padır

Maximizing the utility of human-robot teams in disaster response and search and rescue (SAR) missions remains to be a challenging problem. This is due to the dynamic, uncertain nature of the environment and the variability in cognitive performance of the human operators. By having an autonomous agent share control with the operator, we can achieve near-optimal performance by augmenting the operator's input and compensate for the factors resulting in degraded performance. What this solution does not consider though is the human input latency and errors caused by potential hardware failures that can occur during task completion when operating in disaster response and SAR scenarios. In this paper, we propose the use of blended shared control (BSC) architecture to address these issues and investigate the architecture's performance in constrained, dynamic environments with a differential drive robot that has input latency and erroneous odometry feedback. We conduct a validation study (n=12) for our control architecture and then a user study (n=14) in 2 different environments that are unknown to both the human operator and the autonomous agent. The results demonstrate that the BSC architecture can prevent collisions and enhance operator performance without the need of a complete transfer of control between the human operator and autonomous agent.

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