Initiative in Robot Assistance during Collaborative Task Execution

J. Baraglia, M. Cakmak, Y. Nagai, R. P. N. Rao, and M. Asada, “Initiative in Robot Assistance during Collaborative Task Execution,” in ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), 2016, pp. 67–74, doi: 10.1109/HRI.2016.7451735.


Collaborative robots are quickly gaining momentum in real-world settings. This has motivated many new research questions in human-robot collaboration. In this paper, we address the questions of whether and when a robot should take initiative during joint human-robot task execution. We develop a system capable of autonomously tracking and performing table-top object manipulation tasks with humans and we implement three different initiative models to trigger robot actions. Human initiated help gives control of robot action timing to the user; robot-initiated reactive help triggers robot assistance when it detects that the user needs help; and robot-initiated proactive help makes the robot help whenever it can. We performed a user study (N=18) to compare these trigger mechanisms in terms of task performance, usage characteristics, and subjective preference. We found that people collaborate best with a proactive robot, yielding better team fluency and high subjective ratings. However, they prefer having control of when the robot should help, rather than working with a reactive robot that only helps when it is needed.

BibTeX Entry

  title = {Initiative in Robot Assistance during Collaborative Task Execution},
  author = {Baraglia, Jimmy and Cakmak, Maya and Nagai, Yukie and Rao, Rajesh P.N. and Asada, Minoru},
  booktitle = {ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)},
  pages = {67--74},
  year = {2016},
  month = mar,
  isbn = {978-1-4673-8370-7},
  issn = {2167-2148},
  doi = {10.1109/HRI.2016.7451735}