The problem of teleoperating a mobile robot using shared autonomy is addressed: An onboard controller performs close-range obstacle avoidance while the operator uses the manipulandum of a haptic probe to designate the desired speed and rate of turn. Sensors on the robot are used to measure obstacle-range information. A strategy to convert such range information into forces is described, which are reflected to the operator's hand via the haptic probe. This haptic information provides feedback to the operator in addition to imagery from a front-facing camera mounted on the mobile robot. Extensive experiments with a user population both in virtual and in real environments show that this added haptic feedback significantly improves operator performance, as well as presence, in several ways (reduced collisions, increased minimum distance between the robot and obstacles, etc.) without a significant increase in navigation time.

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