Teleoperation Through Apertures:Passability Versus Driveability

Keith S. Jones, Brian R. Johnson, Elizabeth A. Schmidlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Urban search and rescue (USAR) robots get stuck. Furthermore, USAR workers complained that it is difficult to judge whether a teleoperated robot can go through certain apertures. Two experiments tested teleoperators’ abilities to (a) judge whether a robot could fit through apertures (passability), (b) judge whether they could drive a robot through apertures (driveability), and (c) drive the robot through apertures. Experiment 1 examined teleoperators’ passability judgments and whether those same operators hit apertures that were wider than the robot. Experiment 2 replicated Experiment 1 and examined driveability judgments. Experiment 1 indicated that teleoperators made accurate passability judgments and routinely hit apertures that were wider than the robot. Experiment 2 successfully replicated Experiment 1 and demonstrated that teleoperators did not make accurate driveability judgments. Experiment 1 indicated that teleoperating a robot through an aperture is constrained by the robots’ physical dimensions plus a safety margin associated with how well the operators drive the robot. Thus, teleoperators should base decisions to enter an aperture on their ability to drive the robot. However, Experiment 2 indicated that teleoperators do not make accurate driveability judgments. These results have implications for teleoperator training and the design of robots for specific applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-28
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • affordance
  • aperture
  • human-robot interaction
  • remote control
  • robot
  • teleoperation
  • training
  • urban search and rescue


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