1998-07-13

Experimental Investigation of Cooperative Human/Robotic Roles in Extravehicular Operations 981699

Since the earliest days of manned space flight, robotics and human activities have tended to view each other as the competition. Although the International Space Station lists robotic servicing as an alternative to extravehicular activity (EVA) operations, there has been little consideration of significant cooperation between humans and telerobots in the same work site.
This paper proposes the establishment of a list of potential interaction levels between humans and robots in the extravehicular work site:
  • Robotic assistant
  • Robotic associate
  • Robotic surrogate
  • Robotic specialist
  • Human/robotic symbiosis
The first three categories deal with increasing levels of robotic capability to perform EVA tasks, particularly with EVA interfaces. “Specialist” activities refer to specific task assignments that are singularly associated with humans or robots, such as an Astronaut Support Vehicle or a Telerobotic Rescue System for EVA. The last category refers to robotics technology in intimate contact with the extravehicular human, such as a robotically powered suit. Examples of each of these will be detailed from past experiments in neutral buoyancy and space, and plans presented for future research which will expand the boundaries of human/robotic interactions in space.

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