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Hybrid and intelligent human-robot collaboration - hybrid teams in adaptable, cyber-physical manufacturing environments (Hybr-iT)

Project number: F 2433 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Completed Project


The project focused on hybrid teams, meaning teams which consist of humans and robots working with software-based assistance systems in intelligent, virtual environments. BAuA aimed at analysing and assessing the working conditions in hybrid teams in order to use the findings to enable a human-centred work design. Various aspects were addressed which are relevant for a good human-robot interaction (HRI) such as task characteristics, design of dialogue and the acceptance among employees working in hybrid teams. 

To begin with, existing scientific literature on HRI was evaluated. The results showed that an approach combining different forms of interaction channels is superior to those being limited to one type of interaction channel. A combination of voice and gestures for example, is more suitable for an effective HRI than limiting the interaction channel to audio alone. Based on that research a toolbox with methods and measures suitable for the assessment of HRI was created, which was further developed in the course of the project.

The employees' expectations regarding mobile robot systems were addressed within the empirical part of the project. Afterwards, various prototypes of mobile robot systems were analysed based on criteria of human factors research. The ascertained expectations of the employees and the assessment of prototypes were then synthesised to derive design recommendations for HRI.

Furthermore, it was discussed which aspects have to be considered when introducing hybrid teams in order to promote the employees' acceptance of the new working conditions. At BAuA's fourth workshop on human-robot collaboration, the challenges of introducing collaborative robots into work places were discussed by practitioners and experts from science. In this regard, it became apparent that participatory approaches are particularly important.

A set of practical recommendations based on the project results is now available. By focusing on human-centred approaches when introducing and developing hybrid teams, companies can foster employees' acceptance and increase the efficiency of the new kind of socio-technical work system.

The research and development project "Hybr-iT - hybrid teams in adaptable, cyber-physical manufacturing environments" was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) and overseen by the German Aerospace Center DLR Project Management Agency, Software Systems and Knowledge Technologies (funding code: 01IS16026H).


Unit 2.3 "Human Factors, Ergonomics"

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