An objective function to evaluate performance of human-robot collaboration in target recognition tasks

Avital Bechar, Joachim Meyer, Yael Edan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Robotic systems in unstructured environments must cope with unknown, unpredictable, and dynamic situations. Inherent uncertainty, and limited sensor accuracy and reliability impede target recognition performance. Introducing a human operator into the system can help improve performance and simplify the robotic system. In this paper, four basic levels of collaboration were defined for human-robot collaboration in target recognition tasks. An objective function that includes operational and time costs was developed to quantify performance and determine the best collaboration level. Signal detection theory was applied to evaluate system performance. The optimal collaboration level for different cases was determined by using numerical analyses of the objective function. The findings indicate that the best system performance, the optimal values of performance measures, and the best collaboration level depend on the task, the environment, human and robot parameters, and the system characteristics. For the tested cases, the manual level was never the best collaboration level for achieving the optimal solution. The autonomous level was the best collaboration level when robot sensitivity was higher than human sensitivity. In general, collaboration of human and robot in target recognition tasks will improve upon the optimal performance of a single human detector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-620
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics Part C: Applications and Reviews
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Human-robot interaction
  • Levels of automation
  • Objective function
  • Target recognition
  • Unstructured environments


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