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.
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 planning 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 nonhuman 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-automation 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