Conveying Robot State and Intent Nonverbally in Military-Relevant Situations: An Exploratory Survey

  • Lauren Boos
  • Lilia MoshkinaEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 962)


To successfully integrate into society, today’s robots, largely non-anthropomorphic, need to be able to communicate with people in various roles. In this paper, we focus on the military robot domain, where radio silence and high cognitive loads are par for the course, making nonverbal means of communication a necessity. To better understand how the findings in nonverbal communication using visual (lights) and auditory (non-speech sounds) channels from other domains could apply to the military, we conducted an exploratory survey soliciting opinions from laymen and experts on communicative abilities of a small non-anthropomorphic ground robot. For this study, we used Clearpath Jackal, equipped with a string of LED lights and a speaker to produce nonverbal cues in three different vignettes, and obtained feedback from 16 participants. Our study revealed a number of important issues in nonverbal signal design: importance of context and individual differences, challenge of ambiguity of meaning, and disambiguation of multiple simultaneous messages.


Human factors Robotics Unmanned systems Military applications 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United States Military AcademyWest PointUSA
  2. 2.SoarTechAnn ArborUSA

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