Developing ePartners for Human-Robot Teams in Space based on Ontologies and Formal Abstraction Hierarchies

T. Bosse, L. Breebaart, J. van Diggelen, M. Neerincx, J. Rosa, N. Smets

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Manned space missions are typically performed by teams composed of humans as well as technical systems and are situated in complex, dynamic and safety-critical domains. Intelligent electronic partners (ePartners) can play an important role here to support human-robot teams in their collaborative problem solving process when things do not go as planned. To engage in effective team collaboration, ePartners, humans and robots must align their communication at the right level of abstraction. In this paper, an approach is put forward to represent the functionality of human-robot teams in a formal manner using abstraction hierarchies. In this way, formal relations between domain knowledge at the system, functional and mission-oriented levels are established and reasoning rules are used to navigate through these relations. As a consequence, ePartners are equipped with the ability to reason about the status of a mission, propose solutions in non-nominal situations and provide explanations for the proposed solutions. The approach has been implemented within a mobile application on a tablet that can be used to support astronaut-robot teams during space missions. The application has been evaluated during an experiment at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the context of a Mars mission.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Agent-Oriented Software Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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