Collaborative Control: A robot-centric model for vehicle teleoperation
Telerobotic systems have traditionally been designed and solely operated from a human point of view. Though this “robot as tool” approach suffices for some domains, it is sub-optimal for tasks such as operating multiple vehicles or controlling planetary rovers. Thus, we believe it is worthwhile to examine a new system model for teleoperation, a new paradigm for human-robot interaction: collaborative control.
GestureDriver: Visual Gesturing for Vehicle Teleoperation
Using visual gesture to pilot a vehicle offers several advantages. For a start, the interface is passive (i.e. it doesn’t require the user to use any hardware or to wear special tags or clothes). Therefore, the interface is easy to deploy and can be used virtually anywhere in the field of view of the camera that performs the tracking. This flexibility is hard to achieve with hand controllers such as rate-control joysticks. Using vision also allows different gesture interpretations to be used, depending on the user’s preferences and the tasks to be performed. Since the interpretation is software based, it is possible to customize the human-machine interaction to accommodate any user operating a vehicle in any remote environment. Furthermore, the interaction can adapt to the user over time, which is not possible with hardware devices. As a result, we have the potential to minimize sensorimotor workload on a per-user basis.
PdaDriver: Vehicle Teleoperation
Remote driving systems have remained largely unchanged for the past 50 years: an operator uses hand-controllers (joysticks) to continuously drive a remote vehicle while watching data and video displays. These systems are expensive, cumbersome and time consuming to setup, and require significant training. To remedy this, we are developing PdaDriver, a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) interface for remote driving. PdaDriver is designed to let any user (novice or expert alike) to remotely drive a mobile robot from anywhere and at anytime.
PerceptOR Software Systems: Handheld user interface and human-robot dialogue
The Perception for Off Road Robots (PerceptOR) program is one of six key supporting technology programs of the United States DARPA/Army Future Combat Systems (FCS) program. The PerceptOR program is developing prototype approaches to advance outdoor obstacle detection for robotic systems and enable higher levels of autonomous mobility needed for FCS operations. PerceptOR is designed to push the state-of-the-art in perception under real world conditions. Perception algorithms utilizing both onboard and overhead sensor data are expected to yield significant improvements in obstacle avoidance, especially for off-road or complex urban conditions. Experimentally backed performance data will enable the U.S. Army to better understand how to design and deploy field robots, as well as the level of human involvement required for robot navigation.
Advanced Teleoperation Interfaces
Vehicle teleoperation has traditionally been a domain for experts. Figuring out where the vehicle is, determining where it should go, and remotely driving it are complex problems. These problems can be difficult solve, especially if the vehicle must operate in a hazardous environment, over a poor communications link, or with limited operator resources. As a result, expert operators are needed far more often than not. Our goal is to make vehicle teleoperation accessible to all users, novices and experts alike. Thus, we are creating easy-to-use user interfaces and effective human-robot interaction methods to enable robust vehicle teleoperation (mobile robot remote driving) in unknown, unstructured environments (both indoor & outdoor).
Web Pioneer: Vehicle Teleoperation on the World Wide Web
The Web Pioneer lets you drive a Pioneer via the World Wide Web! Using Web Pioneer you can remotely drive a Pioneer from anywhere in the world and see live video images from either an external camera or the one mounted on Pioneer. To access the Web Pioneer, you must use Netscape Navigator 3.0 or higher (sorry, it is not compatible with Internet Explorer). Both the driving performance and video quality depend on your network connection. If you are connecting to the Web site (coming soon to www.activmedia.com), or if you are using a low-speed Internet connection, you may notice some delay in sending driving commands or receiving video.