Human Interaction with Autonomous Systems

The Human Interaction with Autonomous Systems program aims to create cognitively-compatible intelligent autonomous systems and robots that could serve as teammates with humans, enabling peer-to-peer collaboration among humans, robots, intelligent agents and autonomous systems. Such systems would reduce the cognitive burdens of interfaces with intelligent autonomous systems, enable supervisory control, and human training of robots and autonomous systems.

Research Concentration Areas

  • Shipboard robotics and squad teammates
  • Training robots for complex skills
  • Communication and collaboration with embodied intelligent systems

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • Basic and applied research leading to the development of affordable humanoid robots capable of operating onboard ships and assisting with maintenance, inspection and fire-fighting
  • Basic and applied research leading to the development of agile robotic squad teammates for hazardous urban operations, and search and rescue
  • Basic research on training robots to perform complex manipulation skills and robot behaviors using multimodal machine learning, learning from demonstration and verbal instruction
  • Basic research to create a principled framework for unifying low-level sensorimotor learning and high-level cognitive skill learning
  • Natural language dialogue to facilitate collaboration with robotic and autonomous systems grounded in sensory context, task goals and shifting spatial frameworks
  • Research that enables direct collaboration, cooperation and teaming between human and machines, including task and role negotiation, intent and plan recognition, and compliance and proactive assistance

Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. Thomas McKenna

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 341

Email for Questions:

How to Submit

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please see our Funding Opportunities page and refer to broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-21-S-B001.

  • Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.
  • Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through; instructions are included in the BAA.

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