Roles of Interaction with Robots

There are three different roles for users interacting with robots: supervisor, operator, and peer. A subsequent paper expands these roles into five distinct interaction categories. The operator role has been subdivided into an operator and a mechanic role. The peer role has also been subdivided into a by stander role and a teammate role. Supervisors are responsible for overseeing a number of robots and responding when intervention is needed – either by assigning an operator to diagnose and correct the problem or assisting the robot directly.

The operator is responsible for working “inside” the robot. This might involve assigning way points, tele-operating the robot if needed, or even re-programming on the fly to compensate for an unanticipated situation. The mechanics deal with hardware and sensor problems but must be able to interact with the robot to determine if the adjustments made are sufficient. The teammate role assumes that humans and robots will work together to carry out some tasks, collaborating to adjust to dynamic conditions. The bystander would have no formal training with the robots but must co-exist in the same environment with the robots for a period of time and therefore needs to form some model of the robot’s behavior. Some of these roles can be carried out remotely as well as locally.

In order to evaluate HRI we need to consider the role or roles that individuals will assume when interacting with a robot. For example, our hypothesis is that supervisors need situational awareness of the area and need to monitor both dynamic conditions and task progress.

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