In previous work, we have developed a generate, test, and debug methodology for detecting, classifying, and responding to sensing failures in autonomous and semi-autonomous mobile robots. An important issue has arisen from these efforts: how much time is there available to classify the cause of the failure and determine an alternative sensing strategy before the robot mission must be terminated?

In this paper, we consider the impact of time for teleoperation applications where a remote robot attempts to autonomously maintain sensing in the presence of failures yet has the option to contact the local for further assistance. Time limits are determined by using evidential reasoning with a novel generalization of Dempster- Shafer theory. Generalized Dempster-Shafer theory is used to estimate the time remaining until the robot behavior must be suspended because of uncertainty; this becomes the time limit on autonomous exception handling at the remote. If the remote cannot complete exception handling in this time or needs assistance, responsibility is passed to the local, while the remote assumes a "safe" state. An intelligent assistant then facilitates human intervention, either directing the remote without human assistance or coordinating data collection and presentation to the operator within time limits imposed by the mission. The impact of time on exception handling activities is demonstrated using video camera sensor data.


Computer Sciences

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