This paper studies how an operator with limited situational awareness can collaborate with a swarm of simulated robots. The robots are distributed in an environment with wall obstructions. They aggregate autonomously but are unable to form a single cluster due to the obstructions. The operator lacks the bird’s-eye perspective, but can interact with one robot at a time, and influence the behavior of other nearby robots.
We conducted a series of experiments. They show that untrained participants had marginal influence on the performance of the swarm. Expert participants succeeded in aggregating 85% of the robots while untrained participants, with bird’s-eye view, succeeded in aggregating 90%. This demonstrates that the controls are sufficient for operators to aid the autonomous robots in the completion of the task and that lack of situational awareness is the main difficulty. An analysis of behavioral differences reveals that trained operators learned to gain superior situational awareness.
This paper is available via the Springer website.
Presented at the International Conference on Swarm Intelligence, 2016.