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Towards an immersive user interface for waypoint navigation of a mobile robot

by   Greg Baker, et al.
UWE Bristol

In this paper, we investigate the utility of head-mounted display (HMD) interfaces for navigation of mobile robots. We focus on the selection of waypoint positions for the robot, whilst maintaining an egocentric view of the robot's environment. Inspired by virtual reality (VR) gaming, we propose a target selection method that uses the 6 degrees-of-freedom tracked controllers of a commercial VR headset. This allows an operator to point to the desired target position, in the vicinity of the robot, which the robot then autonomously navigates towards. A user study (37 participants) was conducted to examine the efficacy of this control strategy when compared to direct control, both with and without a communication delay. The results of the experiment showed that participants were able to learn how to use the novel system quickly, and the majority of participants reported a preference for waypoint control. Across all recorded metrics (task performance, operator workload and usability) the proposed waypoint control interface was not significantly affected by the communication delay, in contrast to direct control. The simulated experiment indicated that a real-world implementation of the proposed interface could be effective, but also highlighted the need to manage the negative effects of HMDs - particularly VR sickness.


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