Natural human-robot cooperation in dynamic environments

Logo: NIFTi

NIFTi puts the human factor into cognitive architectures. NIFTi investigates how natural behavior in human-robot cooperation can arise. It operationalizes natural cooperation as balancing operational and cooperation demands in a cognitive architecture (CA), to minimize human cognitive task load and optimize joint work flow.

NIFTi designs CAs by closely coupling cognitive user models to how the architecture understands the environment, how it performs actions, how it communicates. The architecture acquires maps which combine perceptual- and conceptual information. These maps capture where what is in the environment, and project this to how acting is affected. The CA combines projections with cognitive user models and plans to predict why changes in human behavior (due to attention, task load) may occur. The CA uses these predictions to anticipate how it should adapt acting and communication to align with the human. The CA bases planning and execution in a cognitive control model. Control uses attention, characteristics of agent morphology, and skill acquisition, to guide autonomous action execution in a cooperative context. The CA achieves balance by actively interconnecting content across modules. Content in modules is not isolated. In the NIFTi CA design, controllers interconnect content across modules, percolating content changes throughout the CA. Changes guide processing in a module; interconnectivity ensures behavior changes coherently system-wide. Controllers are learnt off- and online, using reinforcement learning and statistical (relational) learning.

Adapting to a human thus permeates the entire architecture. NIFTi focuses on cooperation in the USAR domain, to restrict what actions, forms of communication, and user aspects need to be taken into account. USAR end users join NIFTi to yearly evaluate its approach in real settings, using an integrated CA on a new robot with adaptive active/passive locomotion to jointly explore a disaster area.

Funded by:European Union (Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics )
Project Manager:Geert-Jan Kruijff (Geert-Jan.Kruijff@dfki.de)
Contact:Geert-Jan Kruijff (Geert-Jan.Kruijff@dfki.de)
Duration: 01.01.2010 - 31.12.2013
SwitzerlandETH Zurich,
Czech RepublicCzech Technical University,
ItalyUniversita degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza,
GermanyStadt Dortmund, Institut für Feuerwehr- und Rettungstechnologie,
ItalyMinistero dell'interno, Corpo Nazionale Vigli del Fuoco