International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS), June 2022
My goal for this project was to advance the CoSTAR Mission Control user interface through iterative research and development. Team CoSTAR has been participating in DARPA's Subterranean Challenge (SubT). A team of robots with ground and aerial capabilities are tasked with exploring an expansive underground environment in the search of artifacts within a 60 minute time limit. This competition setting seeks to emulate development of autonomous robotic teams that can map, localize, navigate, and search for items of interest (e.g. survivors, tools, chemicals) in high-risk scenarios, such as in disaster response. JPL has interests in these applications as an analogue to subsurface planetary exploration on the Moon and Mars to search for signs of life. The SubT Challenge limits operation of the robots to a sole human operator, making the user interface–and how it works in tandem with various autonomy subsystems–a crucial aspect for a successful performance. In this work, we design and develop a user-interface which aims to increase the sole operator's situational awareness of an autonomous robot fleet, reduce context switching by integrating features usually accessed across several interfaces into one application, and increase overall performance and time focused on scoring during a competition setting. While this interface was developed with a competition setting in mind, the design of the system could be applied to other areas where a deployment of robotic fleets, especially those with time constraints, can provide benefit, such as disaster response scenarios or space explorations.