Creating More Fluid, Intuitive Human-Robot Teams

In this work, we will explore what influences human’s perceptions of “team” to design better robotic teammates. In particular, we are interested in looking at how the scheduling of a robot teammate can influence a human teammate’s perception of team fluidity.   We will explore how we can adapt existing temporal planning models and methods to interact more seamlessly with how humans execute tasks in teamwork settings. In this project, we will:

  • Review existing literature in temporal reasoning for representing the preferences and tendencies of humans;
  • Explore how explainable, predictable/transparent, and legible current scheduling methods are for human teammates;
  • Extend the lab’s previous exploration of fluidity metrics (see representative publication) in scheduling human-robot teamwork to handle the novel ways that humans introduce uncertainty and contingency into scheduling scenarios;
  • Develop new algorithms that are responsive to the novel sources of uncertainty for capturing the types of uncertainty that humans introduce to team activities and react in a way that humans will interpret as fluid and natural; and
  • Stretch goal: Evaluate our new and existing approaches for multi-robot / human-robot close collaborative tasks on real robotic platforms (e.g., Sawyer:
Name of research group, project, or lab
Human Experience & Agent Teamwork Lab (HEATlab)
Why join this research group or lab?

The mission of the HEATlab is to create new techniques for human-robot teaming—the flexible navigation and coordination of complex, inter-related activities in shared spaces. We focus on using ideas from AI to automate the scheduling and coordination of human-robot teams. We are particularly motivated by the challenge of coordinating the activities of human-robot teams in environments that require explicit cooperation to be successful. Our goal is to create human-robot teams that exploit the relative strengths of humans and agents to accomplish what neither can achieve alone.

 Learn More about the HEATlab:

Representative publication
Logistics Information:
Project categories
Computer Science
Artificial Intelligence
Human-centered Design
Human-Computer Interaction
Student ranks applicable
Student qualifications

Have an active interest/relevant experience in (some/most of) the following:

  • robotics
  • artificial intelligence
  • human-robot interaction
  • cognitive science
  • interaction design
  • human factors
  • Robotic Operating System (ROS).
Time commitment
Summer - Full Time
Paid Research
Number of openings
Techniques learned

You will gain experience in all stages of conducting academic research (formulating research questions, designing approaches and evaluations, and evaluating and writing up results).  You will also gain experience programming robots,  algorithm design, human-centered design.

Contact Information:
Mentor name
Jim Boerkoel
Mentor email
Mentor position
Associate Professor of Computer Science
Name of project director or principal investigator
Jim Boerkoel
Email address of project director or principal investigator
3 sp. | 20 appl.
Hours per week
Summer - Full Time
Project categories
Robotics (+4)
Computer ScienceArtificial IntelligenceHuman-centered DesignHuman-Computer InteractionRobotics