Robotic Telepresence: Perception, Performance, and User Experience

Report No. ARL-TR-5928
Authors: Linda R. Elliott; Chris Jansen; Elizabeth S. Redden; Rodger A. Pettitt
Date/Pages: February 2012; 130 pages
Abstract: Two experiments examined the effectiveness of telepresence features during indoor and outdoor beyond-line-of-sight robot reconnaissance missions. In the first experiment, Soldier participants controlled a reconnaissance robot with two controllers developed by TNO Human Factors: one with and one without telepresence capabilities. Telepresence capabilities included a stereo visual display and a head-mounted camera that was guided by operator head movements. Soldiers performed equivalent search and identification tasks with each controller interface. Measures included indices of performance (e.g., time, accuracy), workload, situation awareness, and user-based ratings and feedback. Results from the first experiment indicated that while Soldiers preferred the telepresence system, performance outcomes were similar in both conditions. The second experiment was based on more challenging task demands and investigated the additional contribution of three-dimensional (3-D) audio capability for audio-based localization tasks. Results indicated that the 3-D audio combined with the head-track camera control enhanced audio-based search tasks. Feedback from Soldiers was overall positive. Suggestions for improvement included a more lightweight portable system, higher visual clarity, and enhanced ease of use.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: February 1, 2012