The Robotics Institute

RI | Seminar | December 5, 2008

Robotics Institute Seminar, December 5, 2008
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

A System of Human-Robot Interfaces for Large Robot Teams



Julie A. Adams

Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering
Vanderbilt University


Time and Place


Mauldin Auditorium (NSH 1305)

Time: 3:30 to 4:30 pm




Our research focuses on developing methods for humans to supervise and command large numbers of unmanned vehicles, ground or aerial. Our work applied two techniques from cognitive engineering, goal-directed task analysis and cognitive work analysis, as a means of understanding two domains; emergency response to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) device events and wilderness search and rescue. The two analysis techniques have provided an understanding of cognitive factors that can affect a human\u2019s ability to supervise unmanned vehicles from a remote location, while the humans must also be an integral component of the emergency response team.

The purpose of applying these two analysis techniques was to identify how unmanned vehicles can best be integrated into the emergency response from the lowest user level of a dedicated vehicle operator to the highest user level of the incident commander. We have defined a hierarchy of users and system information flow that are guiding the design and development of an integrated system of user interfaces and information visualizations for the appropriate user level data abstractions.

One goal of our work is to develop systems that permit a small number of humans (one or two) to simultaneously supervise ten or more vehicles, where the vehicles are either ground-based, aerial-based, or a combination of the two. Another goal is to develop a system that supports all potential users of the information provided by remote vehicles.


Speaker Biography


Julie A. Adams is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Computer Engineering in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at Vanderbilt University, where she directs the Human-Machine Teaming Laboratory. Her research focuses on distributed artificially intelligent algorithms for autonomous multiple robot coalition formation and the development of complex human-machine systems for large human and robotic teams. She has published on topics in autonomous robotic coalition formation, human-robot interaction, cognitive task analysis for robotic systems, and human factors. She worked in Human Factors for Honeywell, Inc. and the Eastman Kodak Company from 1995 to 2000. She was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rochester Institute of Technology from 2000 until 2003. She is an appointed member of the National Research Council\u2019s Army Research Laboratory Technical Assessment Review Panel on Solider Systems and is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award. She received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and her Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting from Siena College. She received her M.S.E. (1993) and her Ph.D. (1995) in Computer and Information Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania.


Speaker Appointments


For appointments, please contact Peggy Martin (

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.