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Human-Autonomy Interaction

Annual Plan

Cognitive Modeling of Human Operator Behavior during Interaction with Autonomous Systems

Project Team

Principal Investigator

Tulga Ersal, University of Michigan


Paramsothy Jayakumar, Michael Cole, U.S. Army GVSC


James Poplawski, Zenuity


Chen Li, University of Michigan

Project Summary

Project started May 2019.

The overarching goal of this project is to enable fully simulation based evaluations of shared control paradigms by developing a cognitive human driver model that is applicable in scenarios where the vehicle control tasks are shared between a human and autonomy.

The potential of autonomy “to shift human attention to higher-level reasoning and judgement” has been identified as an important expected benefit of artificial intelligence in the 2018 Department of Defense AI Strategy, and modeling and simulation of such capability requires a human driver model.

In a shared control setting, the presence of a human operator offers contingency options to complement the limitations of autonomous systems. The state-of-the-art methodology in researching such frameworks is to use human subjects for development and testing purposes, which is time consuming and not even applicable until the algorithms under development can be implemented in real time. A human operator model is thus needed to accelerate the development and evaluation process of shared control strategies by allowing fully simulation based engineering practices; i.e., simulations in which every component of the system is represented mathematically including the human operator.

Publications from Prior Work closely related to the proposed project:

  • H. Mirinejad, P. Jayakumar, and T. Ersal, “Modeling Human Steering Behavior during Path Following in Teleoperation of Unmanned Ground Vehicles,” Human Factors, vol. 60, no. 5, pp. 669–684, 2018.
  • H. Mirinejad, P. Jayakumar, and T. Ersal, “A driver model for predicting human steering performance in teleoperated path following of unmanned ground vehicles,” Dynamic Systems and Control Conference, 2017.
  • T. Ersal, H. J. A. Fuller, O. Tsimhoni, J. L. Stein, and H. K. Fathy, “Model-based analysis and classification of driver distraction under secondary tasks,” IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 692-701, 2010.
  • T. Ersal, H. K. Fathy, L. S. Louca, D. G. Rideout, and J. L. Stein, “A review of proper modeling techniques,” Journal of Dynamic Systems Measurement and Control, vol. 130, no. 6, pp. 061008, 2008.