Research in autonomy focuses on the description, design, and decision-making in systems involving interactions between human and machine, robotics, and automation.  Applications range from collaborative human-robot systems, autonomous systems under human supervisory command, synthetic human/autonomous-agent environment such as multi-player games, and assistive systems for elderly and handicapped individuals.

Example projects in this area include:

  • Anaysis of team decision-making using multi-player games: "Bad Choices!! Using Big, Long and Multivariate Data to Explore Blunders Made by Teams and Individuals, Experts and Novices in Dynamic Skilled Performance" Wayne Gray and David Mondonca (ONR)
  • "Robot Assistant in Composites Manufacturing" John Wen (ARM Institute)
  • "Robot Assistant for C4-C7 Spinal Cord Injured Individuals" John Wen (Craig Nielsen Foundation)



  • collaborative robots
  • autonomous systems
  • assistive robots


  • Synthetic Environment, such as emersive multi-player games with virtual or augmented reality, may be used to simulate such systems for training, algorithm development, design, and optimization.
  • Variable Autonomy addresses the variable partition of authority between human and automation.
  • Efficiency / Robustness / Safety are issues that characterize the behavior and performance of human-automation systems.
  • Ethics for autonomous systems will need to carefully considered in the system design to ensure consistency with designer's value.
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