AeroAstro Annual 8
Annual Report 2010-2011
17 HUMANS IN THE LOOP: Human-Automation Collaboration Presents Possibilities Unattainable by Either Alone 17 Most people today are familiar with automated vehicles, such as aircraft drones, that require one or more people to control a single machine. But, in the future, we will see more and more systems where a small team, or even a single individual, oversees networks of a number of automated “agents.” In these cases involving multiple vehicles traversing random, dynamic, time-pressured environments, the team or individual overseer is not humanly capable of the rapid and complex path plan- ning and resource allocations required: they need automated planning assistance. However, such planning systems can be brittle and unable to respond to emergent events. Enter a human/machine planner partnership, known as “humans-in-the-loop,” where operators provide their human knowledge-based reasoning and experience to enhance the non- human planners’ abilities. While numerous studies have examined the ability of underlying automation (in the form of planning and control algorithms) to control a network of heterogeneous unmanned vehicles (UxVs), a significant limitation of this work is a lack of investigation of critical human-auto- mation collaboration issues. Researchers in AeroAstro’s Humans and Automation Laboratory (HAL), the Aerospace Controls Laboratory (ACL), and Model-based Embedded and Robotic Systems (MERS) are investigating these issues in several domains. HUMANS-IN-THE-LOOP HUMAN-AUTOMATION COLLABORATION PRESENTS POSSIBILITIES UNATTAINABLE BY EITHER ALONE By Mary “Missy” Cummings, Jonathan P. How, and Brian Williams While we humans are capable of complex — even astounding — tasks and feats, we have known since the earliest days of mechanization that we can employ machines to extend human abilities, making it possible to do things faster and better.