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Cooperative Behavior

The foundation of Cooperative Behavior is a shared goal between machine and human partner. For a successful, long-term cooperation, the arising relation needs to be fostered and it is crucial to generate mutual understanding. Reaching the goal together is accompanied then by a feeling of accomplishment and joy.

HRI-EU researches Cooperative Behavior generation, answering the question what a system‘s actions should be. Considering the aspects above, this goes beyond a simple task achievement.

Two applications for Cooperative Behavior are mobility and robotics.

In mobility, it is a challenge to guide the drivers proactively without supervision. The goal is to empower and not to replace the driver. Cooperative vehicles maximize the joy together with the driver and other traffic participants.

In robotics, the physical component of achieving something together is much stronger. Manipulating objects jointly by the robot and its human partner should primarily generate a feeling of accomplishment, which is central to cooperative robotics.

Cooperative Driving

A concrete instance of Cooperative Driving is the “CarGesture”. Human drivers use “gestures” frequently to communicate their intentions. For example: approaching a zebra crossing and braking already far away from the crossing conveys the intention to let a waiting pedestrian pass this crossing.

Imagine the car predicts a potentially hazardous situation and communicates this by indicating a de-escalating trajectory with a gentle steering wheel impulse, a CarGesture. The gesture should be clearly noticeable for the driver but will not be sufficient for avoiding the hazard by itself. In this way, the driver is informed early with a beneficial behavior bias. The driver then has the full spectrum of choices to either follow this recommendation, initiate an even less hazardous trajectory or to reject the recommendation by staying on the chosen trajectory for a reason unknown to the vehicle. A scientific user study has shown that people accept CarGestures due to their non-invasiveness and their action-proposing nature.

In the future, we expect autonomous vehicles to employ such kind of gestures in mixed traffic with human drivers in order to convey their intentions in a human legible way.

For more information

Christian Maag, Norbert Schneider, Thomas Lübbeke, Thomas Weisswange, Christian Goerick, “Car Gestures – Advisory Warning Using Additional Steering Wheel Angles”, Accident Analysis & Prevention, vol. 83, issue doi:10.1016/j.aap.2015.07.020, pp. 143–153, 2015.