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RBE PhD Dissertation Proposal: Kenechukwu Mbanisi | Towards Human-Centered Haptic Shared Autonomy for Assisted Driving Systems


Various images of robots at Robotics Engineering WPI alt
WPI Robotics Engineering
Monday, May 17, 2021
11:00 am to 12:30 pm

Robotics Engineering PhD Dissertation Proposal


Kenechukwu Mbanisi

Towards Human-Centered Haptic Shared Autonomy for Assisted Driving Systems


Monday, May 17, 2021

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Virtual | Zoom:


Abstract: Recent advances in sensor technology and declining computing costs have contributed to the rising adoption of intelligent assisted driving systems. These systems complement human efforts in vehicle navigation across various aspects of personal mobility including passenger vehicles, wheelchairs, and mobile telepresence robots. Shared autonomy (SA) formalizes this approach of synergistic collaboration of both the human and autonomous agent to achieve a common navigation task. Haptic shared autonomy (HSA) is a form of SA where both agents “blend” their control inputs by applying forces on a force-enabled control interface (such as a motorized steering wheel or haptic joystick). Existing research shows that HSA systems lead to improved driving task performance, increased situational awareness and reduced workload for the human. However, these systems still struggle with issues around control authority arbitration and intent misalignment which lead to undesirable conflict between the human and the autonomous agent, resulting in user dissatisfaction and, oftentimes, abandonment of the system altogether.

This thesis proposal presents a human-centered design approach with four proposed contributions to address these open challenges of haptic shared autonomy in assisted driving. The first contribution provides a better understanding of the implications of anticipation uncertainty on human motor control in force-based interactions. The second contribution is SocNavAssist, a haptic shared autonomy framework that provides intuitive and intelligent navigation assistance for teleoperated robots in human environments. The third is an extension to SocNavAssist to enable online robot adaptation to changes in user objectives when navigating in human environments. Lastly, a novel approach for modeling and simulating human driver control behavior for improved driving assistance system design is proposed.


PhD Committee Members:

Prof. Michael A. Gennert (Committee Chair), RBE, WPI

Prof. Jie Fu, RBE, WPI

Prof. Karen Troy, BME, WPI

Prof. Taskin Padir, ECE, Northeastern University