A New UGV Teleoperation Interface for Improved Awareness of Network Connectivity and Physical Surroundings

by   Ramviyas Parasuraman, et al.

A reliable wireless connection between the operator and the teleoperated Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) is critical in many Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) missions. Unfortunately, as was seen in e.g. the Fukushima disaster, the networks available in areas where USAR missions take place are often severely limited in range and coverage. Therefore, during mission execution, the operator needs to keep track of not only the physical parts of the mission, such as navigating through an area or searching for victims, but also the variations in network connectivity across the environment. In this paper, we propose and evaluate a new teleoperation User Interface (UI) that includes a way of estimating the Direction of Arrival (DoA) of the Radio Signal Strength (RSS) and integrating the DoA information in the interface. The evaluation shows that using the interface results in more objects found, and less aborted missions due to connectivity problems, as compared to a standard interface. The proposed interface is an extension to an existing interface centered around the video stream captured by the UGV. But instead of just showing the network signal strength in terms of percent and a set of bars, the additional information of DoA is added in terms of a color bar surrounding the video feed. With this information, the operator knows what movement directions are safe, even when moving in regions close to the connectivity threshold.


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