Coordinating Shared Tasks in Human-Robot Collaboration by Commands

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Human-robot collaboration is gaining more and more interest in industrial settings, as collaborative robots are considered safe and robot actions can be programmed easily by, for example, physical interaction. Despite this, robot programming mostly focuses on automated robot motions and interactive tasks or coordination between human and robot still requires additional developments. For example, the selection of which tasks or actions a robot should do next might not be known beforehand or might change at the last moment. Within a human-robot collaborative setting, the coordination of complex shared tasks, is therefore more suited to a human, where a robot would act upon requested commands.In this work we explore the utilization of commands to coordinate a shared task between a human and a robot, in a shared work space. Based on a known set of higher-level actions (e.g., pick-and-placement, hand-over, kitting) and the commands that trigger them, both a speech-based and graphical command-based interface are developed to investigate its use. While speech-based interaction might be more intuitive for coordination, in industrial settings background sounds and noise might hinder its capabilities. The graphical command-based interface circumvents this, while still demonstrating the capabilities of coordination. The developed architecture follows a knowledge-based approach, where the actions available to the robot are checked at runtime whether they suit the task and the current state of the world. Experimental results on industrially relevant assembly, kitting and hand-over tasks in a laboratory setting demonstrate that graphical command-based and speech-based coordination with high-level commands is effective for collaboration between a human and a robot.
Original languageEnglish
Article number734548
Number of pages13
JournalFrontiers in Robotics and AI
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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