Hum Factors. 2021 Sep 24:187208211042782. doi: 10.1177/00187208211042782. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of interface display modalities and human-in-the-loop presence on the awareness, workload, performance, and user strategies of humans interacting with teleoperated robotic systems while conducting inspection tasks onboard spacecraft.

BACKGROUND: Due to recent advancements in robotic technology, free-flying teleoperated robot inspectors are a viable alternative to extravehicular activity inspection operations. Teleoperation depends on the user’s situation awareness; consequently, a key to successful operations is practical bi-directional communication between human and robot agents.

METHOD: Participants (n = 19) performed telerobotic inspection of a virtual spacecraft during two degrees of temporal communication, a Synchronous Inspection task and an Asynchronous Inspection task. Participants executed the two tasks while using three distinct visual displays (2D, 3D, AR) and accompanying control systems.

RESULTS: Anomaly detection performance was better during Synchronous Inspection than the Asynchronous Inspection of previously captured imagery. Users’ detection accuracy reduced when given interactive exocentric 3D viewpoints to accompany the egocentric robot view. The results provide evidence that 3D projections, either demonstrated on a 2D interface or augmented reality hologram, do not affect the mean clearance violation time (local guidance performance), even though the subjects perceived a benefit.

CONCLUSION: In the current implementation, the addition of augmented reality to a classical egocentric robot view for exterior inspection of spacecraft is unnecessary, as its margin of performance enhancement is limited in comparison.

APPLICATION: Results are presented to inform future human-robot interfaces to support crew autonomy for deep space missions.

PMID:34558994 | DOI:10.1177/00187208211042782