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Mutual shaping in swarm robotics: User studies in fire and rescue, storage organization, and bridge inspection

Carrillo-Zapata, Daniel; Milner, Emma; Hird, Julian; Tzoumas, Georgios; Vardanega, Paul J.; Sooriyabandara, Mahesh; Giuliani, Manuel; Winfield, Alan F. T.; Hauert, Sabine

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Authors

Daniel Carrillo-Zapata

Emma Milner

Julian Hird

Georgios Tzoumas

Paul J. Vardanega

Mahesh Sooriyabandara

Manuel Giuliani Manuel.Giuliani@uwe.ac.uk
Professor in Embedded Cognitive AI for Robotics

Sabine Hauert



Abstract

Many real-world applications have been suggested in the swarm robotics literature. However, there is a general lack of understanding of what needs to be done for robot swarms to be useful and trusted by users in reality. This paper aims to investigate user perception of robot swarms in the workplace, and inform design principles for the deployment of future swarms in real-world applications. Three qualitative studies with a total of 37 participants were done across three sectors: fire and rescue, storage organization, and bridge inspection. Each study examined the users’ perceptions using focus groups and interviews. In this paper, we describe our findings regarding: the current processes and tools used in these professions and their main challenges; attitudes toward robot swarms assisting them; and the requirements that would encourage them to use robot swarms. We found that there was a generally positive reaction to robot swarms for information gathering and automation of simple processes. Furthermore, a human in the loop is preferred when it comes to decision making. Recommendations to increase trust and acceptance are related to transparency, accountability, safety, reliability, ease of maintenance, and ease of use. Finally, we found that mutual shaping, a methodology to create a bidirectional relationship between users and technology developers to incorporate societal choices in all stages of research and development, is a valid approach to increase knowledge and acceptance of swarm robotics. This paper contributes to the creation of such a culture of mutual shaping between researchers and users, toward increasing the chances of a successful deployment of robot swarms in the physical realm.

Citation

Carrillo-Zapata, D., Milner, E., Hird, J., Tzoumas, G., Vardanega, P. J., Sooriyabandara, M., …Hauert, S. (2020). Mutual shaping in swarm robotics: User studies in fire and rescue, storage organization, and bridge inspection. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 7, https://doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2020.00053

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 24, 2020
Online Publication Date Apr 21, 2020
Publication Date Apr 21, 2020
Deposit Date Jul 22, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 22, 2020
Journal Frontiers in Robotics and AI
Electronic ISSN 2296-9144
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Article Number 53
DOI https://doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2020.00053
Keywords users, mutual shaping, swarm robotics, firefighting, rescuing, storage organization, bridge inspection, responsible research and innovation
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/6284479
Publisher URL https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frobt.2020.00053/full

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