This thesis presents a human interface which helps users efficiently allocate multiple unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) cooperating to accomplish timing-sensitive missions in an urban environment. The urban environment consists of obstacles and a hazardous region. The obstacles represent a "no-go zone" while the hazardous region represents a high-risk area. The main object of this problem is to minimize the team operational cost while satisfying timing constraints. Operational costs for individual vehicles are based on risk and power consumption, and are calculated using path length and vehicle velocity. In this thesis, three types of timing constraints are considered: simultaneous arrival, tight sequential arrival, and loose sequential arrival. Coordination variables and functions are the strategy by which both temporal and spatial information is used to achieve cooperative timing at a minimum cost. Specifically, coordination variables and functions are used to plan trajectories for a team of UGVs that satisfy timing constraints. The importance of properly representing information to users, allowing them to make efficient decisions, is also discussed. Four different control interfaces (temporal, spatial, cost, and coordination variable/function control) were tested. A full factorial design of experiments was performed with response time, workload, and quality of decision as metrics used to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of each interface. Based on the results of this experiment, a final graphical user interface (GUI) was designed and is described. It incorporates a combination of coordination variable/function control and cost control. This GUI is capable of planning paths for vehicles based on cooperative timing constraints and enables users to make high quality decisions in deploying a group of vehicles.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





graphical user interface, GUI, unmanned ground vehicle, UGV, cooperative control, coordination variable, coordination function, temporal interface, spatial interface, cost interface, coordination variable and function interface, multiple vehicle system, adjustable autonomy