Advantages of Multimodal versus Verbal-Only Robot-to-Human Communication with an Anthropomorphic Robotic Mock Driver

Tim Schreiter, Lucas Morillo-Mendez, Ravi T. Chadalavada, Andrey Rudenko, Erik Billing, Martin Magnusson, Kai O. Arras, and Achim J. Lilienthal
Proceedings of Ro-man Conference, 2023


Robots are increasingly used in shared environments with humans, making effective communication a necessity for successful human-robot interaction. In our work, we study a crucial component: active communication of robot intent. Here, we present an anthropomorphic solution where a humanoid robot communicates the intent of its host robot acting as an “Anthropomorphic Robotic Mock Driver” (ARMoD). We evaluate this approach in two experiments in which participants work alongside a mobile robot on various tasks, while the ARMoD communicates a need for human attention, when required, or gives instructions to collaborate on a joint task. The experiments feature two interaction styles of the ARMoD: a verbal-only mode using only speech and a multimodal mode, additionally including robotic gaze, and pointing gestures to support communication and register intent in space. Our results show that the multimodal interaction style, including head movements and eye gaze as well as pointing gestures, leads to more natural fixation behavior. Participants naturally identified and fixated longer on the areas relevant for intent communication and reacted faster to instructions in collaborative tasks. Our research further indicates that the ARMoD intent communication improves engagement and social interaction with mobile robots in workplace settings.

  author={Schreiter, Tim and Morillo-Mendez, Lucas and Chadalavada, Ravi T. and Rudenko, Andrey and Billing, Erik and Magnusson, Martin and Arras, Kai O. and Lilienthal, Achim J.},
  booktitle={2023 32nd IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN)}, 
  title={Advantages of Multimodal versus Verbal-Only Robot-to-Human Communication with an Anthropomorphic Robotic Mock Driver},