Extreme Scalability: Designing Interfaces and Algorithms for Soldier-Robotic Swarm Interaction, Year 2
ARMY RESEARCH LAB ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND MD
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In theory, autonomous robotic swarm can be used for critical Army tasks i.e., accompanying convoys however, the Soldier controlling the swarm must be able to monitor swarm status and correct actions, especially in disrupted or degraded conditions. For the concluding year of this two-tear Directors Research Initiative DRI, we designed multimodal speech and touch Soldier-swarm control concepts to allow Soldiers to efficiently control a robotic swarm participating in a representative convoy mission. We used a potential field approach for swarm control because it scales easily to large heterogeneous swarms and allows users to dynamically alter swarm behavior by adjusting field parameters. We tested the effectiveness of the swarm controls in a laboratory study using 12 male Marines volunteers with a mean age of 19 years. The metacognition results showed that the swarm which consisted of members fulfilling sentry and explorer functions could maintain adequate coverage most of the time. Interface results showed that most participants, 58, used speech commands first almost exclusively, while the remaining used touch commands first. Results can be applied to future swarm and command and control systems.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Command, Control and Communications Systems