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Objective Function Allocation Method for Human-Automation/Robotic Interaction Using Work Models That Compute (NNX17AB08G)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Human factors
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human



To develop effective Human-automation/robotic (HAR) systems, NASA requires the development of methods and tools to inform the decisions regarding function allocation between robots and crewmembers that are able to objectively assess the implications of the assignment of these roles for the human-system performance trade space. This research will establish a validated method for the evaluation of function allocation between robots and automated systems and their human crew mates for use in deep space exploration missions. It will further produce computational models of different possible combinations of a three person human crew and various classes of robots for a variety of tasks which can be used as-is for additional analysis or modified for future concepts of operation. The method for function allocation will apply fast-time simulation, which will be validated by ground-based human-in-the-loop experimentation. It may also include human-in-the-loop simulation in an analog environment.

This project used current-day computational methods to model and simulate the human-robot teams at work. Investigators expanded on existing methods used in aeronautics to advance the field of computational simulation of function allocation for the improvement of manned space exploration where they encountered additional challenges of agents with differential capabilities, time delay of communication, and the need to represent limitations in resources which might be both physical as well as informational. The capability to simulate how human-robot teams work together will help systems designers understand the interaction between humans and space robotics to allow for robust and effective as well as efficient teamwork across missions and different crew-robot complements. This research also impacts the growing field of human-robot teaming, as robots continue to advance technically and become less like tools for humans and more like peers and teammates.

The research addresses three main research questions:

  1. How should roles and responsibilities be optimally assigned to robots and humans based on a combination of task demands, robotic capabilities and available crew resources, with special attention to the capabilities inherent to classes of robots?
  2. What is the human-robot system performance trade-space that serves as the basis for the allocation?
  3. How can this function allocation method be validated as creating appropriate function allocation for both nominal and off-nominal operations?

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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
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Automation boundary conditions
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

+ Click here for information of how this experiment is contributing to the HRP's path for risk reduction.

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Alternate Experiment Name
Robotic Functional Allocation
Proposal Date
Proposal Source
2015-16 HERO NNJ15ZSA001N