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Corine H.G. Horsch, Nanja J. J. M. Smets, Mark A. Neerincx, & Raymond H. Cuijpers. (2013). Revealing unexpected effects of rescue robots' team-membership in a virtual environment. In J. Geldermann and T. Müller S. Fortier F. F. T. Comes (Ed.), ISCRAM 2013 Conference Proceedings – 10th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (pp. 627–631). KIT; Baden-Baden: Karlsruher Institut fur Technologie.
Abstract: In urban search and rescue (USAR) situations resources are limited and workload is high. Robots that act as team players instead of tools could help in these situations. A Virtual Reality (VR) experiment was set up to test if team performance of a human-robot team increases when the robot act as such a team player. Three robot settings were tested ranging from the robot as a tool to the robot as a team player. Unexpectedly, team performance seemed to be the best for the tool condition. Two side-effects of increasing robot's teammembership could explain this result: Mental workload increased for the humans who had to work with the team-playing robot, whereas the tendency to share information was reduced between these humans. Future research should, thus, focus on team-memberships that improve communication and reduce cognitive workload.