A Multi-modal Interface for Natural Operator Teaming with Autonomous Robots (MINOTAUR)

Kane, S., McGurgan, K., Voshell, M., Monnier, C., German, S., and Ost, A.

Presented at the 8th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE 2017), Los Angeles, CA (July 2017)

Dismounted squads face logistical problems, including the management of physical burdens in complex operating environments. Autonomous unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) can help transport equipment and supplies, but require active remote control or teleoperation, even for mundane tasks such as long-distance travel. This requires heads down attention, causing fatigue and reducing situational awareness. To address these needs, we designed and prototyped a Multi-modal Interface for Natural Operator Teaming with Autonomous Robots (MINOTAUR). The MINOTAUR human-robot interface (HRI) provides observability and directability of UGV behavior through a multi-modal interface that leverages gesture input, touch/physical input through a watch-based operator control unit (OCU), and voice input. MINOTAUR’s multi-modal approach enables operators to leverage the strengths of each modality, while the OCU enables quick control inputs through lightweight interactions and at-a-glance information status summaries. This paper describes the requirements and use case analysis that informed MINOTAUR designs and provides detailed descriptions of design concepts.

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