Assessing Humans’ Willingness to
Delegate Control Tasks
to a Robot in Critical Situations
User Research, Human-Robot Interaction
This is a group project in which we tried to assess the factors that affect a human’s trust of and reliance upon robots in a hazardous environment. Our project focuses on the trust of a robot by its human operator as opposed to its human follower or rescuee.
UI/Data Collection: Java, Amazon MTurk
Data Analysis: Excel, ANOVA test
As robots increasingly take on more prominent roles in search-and-rescue tasks, it becomes vital to gain a deeper understanding of the factors that affect a human’s trust of and reliance upon robots. This is because emergency situations are usually times of vastly increased stress and adrenaline for victims and rescuers alike, and the inclusion of robots possessing requisite task capabilities could potentially ease some of the burdens off human rescuers. At the same time, we must also ensure that the degree of human reliance on robots is commensurate with the robot’s competence and the level of difficulty of the task in question, so as to prevent over-reliance in situations for which the robot may be under-equipped, as well as under-reliance in situations which may be too dangerous or taxing to the human.
Our main research questions are threefold :
What impact, if any, does the quality of a robot’s prior performance have on a human’s willingness to delegate “critical tasks” to the robot in the future? For purposes of this experiment, “critical tasks” are defined as those involving rescue efforts in response to an emergency.
What impact, if any, does the difficulty level of the task have on the human’s willingness to delegate critical tasks to the robot?
What, if any, interactions exist between performance of a robot and treacherousness of environment?
MILESTONE 1: Experiment Design
The experiment was conducted in the form of a search-and-rescue mission via a custom simulation software that we created using Java. We simulated the evacuation scenario in a 2D discrete set of grids. The human participant’s task is to use the virtual robot to traverse this treacherous environment safely in an attempt to find the victim, whose precise location is not known ahead of time. Our source code and README file for the simulation are located here.