REU Site: Collaborative Human-Robot Interaction for Robots in the Field

Abstract: Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) has the potential to affect several real-world challenges of operating autonomous systems in environments outside of a traditional lab setting where robots are uniquely able to assist a human team member to achieve a common goal. However, there are many challenges for effective human-robot collaboration that impinge on this promise, such as communicating with human partners using natural language, providing information to an operator through a visual interface, or quickly providing information so that a person is able to offer assistance. We propose an HRI direction that provides several closely-related projects for undergraduate research experiences that serve applications that will reach outside of the research lab. The project team will mentor 10 undergraduates each summer, pursuing research directly impacting the following technical challenges: development of autonomous robot capabilities targeted for care environments, such as networked robotics devices cooperating with care professionals to perform complex tasks in support of aging in place; human command-and-control infrastructure for operations that utilize robots for technology support; and connectivity and security for a network of robots, computers, and embedded devices collectively used to address mission-critical goals while utilizing unused parts of the wireless spectrum. The goal of this Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site is to develop and evaluate robotic systems whose function is to help bridge the human-robot collaboration gap and achieve the above objectives efficiently and effectively. The summer activities for undergraduates will provide hands-on science and engineering activities related to current research projects, and professional development with training sessions on writing a graduate school application and how to apply for fellowships to support graduate education. The site will develop new autonomous robot capabilities and supporting network and data science technology to address real-world challenges of operating autonomous systems in hospital, clinic, home, and infrastructure environments. This site will develop solutions for semi-autonomous robot behavior for use in real-world settings. The proposed site presents five projects related to these computing domains: socially appropriately navigating in public spaces; understanding user comfort through interactions; tightly-coupled collaborative human-robot teams; efficient collaboration with remotely-situated agents; and first-responder search and rescue operations with human-robot intertwined networks. This REU site links these projects together through the common objective of developing assistive technology that can be used in the field. Students will develop domain knowledge, mathematical skills, and interdisciplinary competency. The possible intellectual properties resulting from this project will include study on long-term human-robot interaction, wireless networking for challenging signal environments, autonomous robot capabilities for human-robot teaming, and data science tools for processing high volumes of data from real-world systems.


  • Organization: National Science Foundation
  • Award #: IIS-2150394
  • Amount: $405,000
  • Date: March 1, 2022 - Feb. 28, 2025
  • PI: Dr. David Feil-Seifer
  • Co-PI: Emily Hand

Supported Publications

  • Becker, T., Jiang, S., Feil-Seifer, D., & Nicolescu, M. Single Robot Multitasking through Dynamic Resource Allocation. In 2023 IEEE-RAS 22nd International Conference on Humanoid Robots (Humanoids), page 1-8, IEEE. Jan 2024. IEEE. ( details ) ( .pdf )
  • Thom, N., DeBolt, A., Brown, L., & Hand, E. DoppelVer: A Benchmark for Face Verification. In International Symposium on Advances in Visual Computing (ISVC), Lake Tahoe, NV, USA, Oct 2023. ( details )
  • Bukhari, T. S., Anima, B., Feil-Seifer, D., & Qazi, M. W. Cognitive Approach to Hierarchical Task Selection for Human-Robot Interaction in Dynamic Environments. In International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Detroit, MI, USA, IEEE. Oct 2023. IEEE. ( details ) ( .pdf )
  • Arora, P., Karakurt, T., Avlonitis, E., Carlson, S., Moore, B., Feil-Seifer, D., & Papachristos, C. Deep Learning-based Reassembling of an Aerial & Legged Marsupial Robotic System-of-Systems . In Proceedings of the International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Warsaw, Poland, Jun 2023. ( details ) ( .pdf )
  • Moore, B., Carlson, S., Arora, P., Avlonitis, E., Karakurt, T., Feil-Seifer, D., & Papachristos, C. Combined Docking-and-Recharging for a Flexible Aerial / Legged Marsupial Autonomous System. In IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, May 2023. ( details ) ( .pdf )
  • Hankins, A., Das, T., Sengupta, S., & Feil-Seifer, D. Eyes on the Road: A Survey on Cyber Attacks and Defense Solutions for Vehicular Ad-Hoc Networks. In Computing and Communication Workshop and Conference (CCWC), Las Vegas, NV, IEEE. Mar 2023. IEEE. ( details ) ( .pdf )
  • Salek Shahrezaie, R., Manalo, B. L., Brantley, A., Lynch, C., & Feil-Seifer, D. Advancing Socially-Aware Navigation for Public Spaces . In International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), Naples, Italy, IEEE. Aug 2022. IEEE. ( details ) ( .pdf )