Explaining Autonomous Decisions in Swarms of Human-on-the-Loop Small Unmanned Aerial Systems


  • Ankit Agrawal University Of Notre Dame, Indiana
  • Jane Cleland-Huang University Of Notre Dame, Indiana




Human-on-the-loop, Situation Awareness, System Interface, Human Computation


Rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence have shifted the focus from traditional human-directed robots to fully autonomous ones that do not require explicit human control. These are commonly referred to as Human-on-the-Loop (HotL) systems. Transparency of HotL systems necessitates clear explanations of autonomous behavior so that humans are aware of what is happening in the environment and can understand why robots behave in a certain way. However, in complex multi-robot environments, especially those in which the robots are autonomous and mobile, humans may struggle to maintain situational awareness. Presenting humans with rich explanations of autonomous behavior tends to overload them with lots of information and negatively affect their understanding of the situation. Therefore, explaining the autonomous behavior of multiple robots creates a design tension that demands careful investigation. This paper examines the User Interface (UI) design trade-offs associated with providing timely and detailed explanations of autonomous behavior for swarms of small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) or drones. We analyze the impact of UI design choices on human awareness of the situation. We conducted multiple user studies with both inexperienced and expert sUAS operators to present our design solution and initial guidelines for designing the HotL multi-sUAS interface.




How to Cite

Agrawal, A., & Cleland-Huang, J. (2021). Explaining Autonomous Decisions in Swarms of Human-on-the-Loop Small Unmanned Aerial Systems. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing, 9(1), 15-26. https://doi.org/10.1609/hcomp.v9i1.18936