Interfacing with and supervising a team of heterogeneous, modular robotic systems across various, dynamic mission sets poses significant demands on the design of an operator control unit (OCU). This paper presents an architecture and OCU design which focuses on three key elements addressing this problem: 1. A well-defined system architecture for external interfacing, 2. Dynamic device discovery to advertise current capabilities, and 3. A flexible front-end to convey situational awareness. The system architecture and external interface is influenced by work done in 4D/RCS (Four Dimensional Real-time Control System) to provide a hierarchical decomposition of the system autonomy. The platform independent, web-based OCU is capable of interacting with any level of the system-of-systems from low-level teleoperation of a single vehicle to section-level concerns such as commanding coordinated tactical behaviors across multiple vehicles. The architecture design facilitates dynamic discovery of the team of vehicles and their respective payloads. The OCU subscribes to pertinent data from these advertised systems, providing multiple human supervisors the ability to interact with and receive concurrent visual representation of them and their status. System failures, payload detections, and user decision prompts are displayed in a prominent yet unobtrusive manner. The OCU was used to control a heterogeneous team of four vehicles performing coordinated route clearance operations in a set of four demonstration vignettes. Results of a technical exercise using this system are described herein. Keyword
Paul Candela, Alexander Xydes, and Adam Nans, "Designing an operator control unit for cooperative autonomous unmanned systems," Proc. SPIE 10195, Unmanned Systems Technology XIX, 101950L (Presented at SPIE Defense + Security: April 12, 2017; Published: 5 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2267163.
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