Research Project

Speed Dating Trust: Examining the Critical Human-Machine Teaming Behaviors Linked to Mission Success

Research Team

Lead Researchers:

  • Nhut Ho, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Thomas Chan, Social and Behavioral Sciences

Collaborators:

  • So Young Kim-Castet, Basak Ramaswamy, & Scott Davidoff | NASA JPL

Student Team:

  • Jeremy Argueta
  • Ana Patino
  • Jazlyn Armendariz
  • Giovanna Blanco
  • Jared Carrillo 
  • Gerard Andrei
  • Alexandria Christoforatos

Funding

  • Funding Organization:
  • Funding Program:

Abstract

Tactful coordination on earth between hundreds of operators from diverse disciplines and backgrounds is needed to ensure that Martian rovers have a high likelihood of achieving their science goals while enduring the harsh environment of the red planet. The operations team includes many individuals, each with independent and overlapping objectives, working to decide what to execute on the Mars surface during the next planning period. The team must work together to understand each other’s objectives and constraints within a fixed time period, often requiring frequent revision. This study examines the challenges faced during Mars surface operations, from high-level science objectives to formulating a valid, safe, and optimal activity plan that is ready to be radiated to the rover. Through this examination, we aim to illuminate how planning intent can be formulated and effectively communicated to future spacecrafts that will become more and more autonomous. Our findings reveal the intricate nature of human-to-human interactions that require a large array of soft skills and core competencies to communicate concurrently with science and engineering teams during plan formulation. Additionally, our findings exposed significant challenges in eliciting planning intent from operators, which will intensify in the future, as operators on the ground asynchronously co-operate the rover with the on board autonomy. Building a marvellous robot and landing it onto the Mars surface are remarkable feats – however, ensuring that scientists can get the best out of the mission is an ongoing challenge and will not cease to be a difficult task with increased autonomy.

Motivation/Research Problem

Humans and autonomous systems need to understand and trust each other to make for effective mission teaming. Humans and machines are both complex and we are examining the fundamental behaviors and interactions that make current missions successful and unsuccessful.

Alignment, Engagement and Contributions

NASA MIRO, JPL STEM Education Directorate, NIH Building Bridges to Doctorates

Research Questions and Research Objectives

1) Understand the processes teams interact to make missions on Mars and Europa more successful;

2) Inform how autonomy can be design to develop more “trusting” teaming between humans and spacecrafts.

Research Methods

Qualitative Interview and Ethnographic Observation of Mars Mission Teams (Ops, Rover, Instruments).

Research Deliverables and Products

1-Human-Computer Interaction Glow Up: Examining Operational Trust and Intention Towards Mars Autonomous Systems (Publication), 2-HECATE AI for Caregiving (Grant Submission), 3-Behavioral Mechanisms behind Mission Teams
(NASA Autonomy Group Presentation);

Research Timeline

On-going data collection and analyses.

Research Team

Lead Researchers:

  • Nhut Ho, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Thomas Chan, Social and Behavioral Sciences

Collaborators:

  • So Young Kim-Castet, Basak Ramaswamy, & Scott Davidoff | NASA JPL

Student Team:

  • Jeremy Argueta
  • Ana Patino
  • Jazlyn Armendariz
  • Giovanna Blanco
  • Jared Carrillo 
  • Gerard Andrei
  • Alexandria Christoforatos

Funding

  • Funding Organization:
  • Funding Program: