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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect on time to complete a task depending on how a human operator interacts with a mobile‐robot. Interaction is investigated using two tele‐operated mobile‐robot systems, three different ways of interacting with robots and several different environments. The speed of a tele‐operator in completing progressively more complicated driving tasks is investigated also. Design/methodology/approach – Tele‐operators are timed completing a series of tasks using a joystick to control a mobile‐robot. They either watch the robot while operating it, or sit at a computer and view scenes remotely on a screen. Cameras are either mounted on the robot, or so that they view both the environment and robot. Tele‐operators complete tests both with and without sensors. One robot system uses an umbilical cable and one uses a radio link. Findings – In simple environments, a tele‐operator may perform better without a sensor system to assist them but in more complicated environments then a tele‐operator may perform better with a sensor system to assist. Tele‐operators may also tend to perform better with a radio link than with an umbilical connection. Tele‐operators sometimes perform better with a camera mounted on the robot compared with pre‐mounted cameras observing the environment (but that depends on tasks being performed). Research limitations/implications – Tele‐operated systems rely heavily on visual feedback and experienced operators. This paper investigates how to make tasks easier. Practical implications – The paper suggests that the amount of sensor support should be varied depending on circumstances. Originality/value – Results show that human tele‐operators perform better without the assistance of a sensor systems in simple environments.
Assembly Automation – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 31, 2009
Keywords: Operating systems; Robotics; Sensors; Ultra‐sonics
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