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  1. AI and robotics can facilitate humanitarian assistance and disaster response, but partnerships with practitioners are crucial. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 26, 2024
  2. A HRI study with 31 expert robot operators established that an external viewpoint from an assisting robot could increase teleoperation performance by 14% to 58% while reducing human error by 87% to 100% This video illustrates those findings with a side-by-side comparison of the best and worst viewpoints for the passability and traversability affordances. The passability scenario uses a small unmanned aerial system as a visual assistant that can reach any viewpoint on the idealized hemisphere surrounding the task action. The traversability scenario uses a small ground robot that is restricted to a subset of viewpoints that are reachable. 
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  4. Unmanned systems are becoming increasingly engaged in disaster response. Human error in these applications can have severe consequences and emergency managers appear reluctant to adopt robots. This paper presents a taxonomy of normal and off-normal scenarios that, when combined with a model of impacts on cognitive and attentional resources, specify sources of human error in field robotics. In an emergency, a human is under time and consequences pressure, regardless of whether the mission is routine or whether the event requires a change in the robot, the mission, the robot’s work envelope, the interaction of the humans engaged with the robot, or their work envelope. For example, at Hurricane Michael, unmanned aerial systems were used for standard visual survey missions with minor human errors but the same systems were used at the Kilauea volcanic eruption for novel missions with more notable human errors. An examination of two cases studies suggests the physiological and psychological effects of an emergency may be the primary source of human error. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    The world was unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, and recovery is likely to be a long process. Robots have long been heralded to take on dangerous, dull, and dirty jobs, often in environments that are unsuitable for humans. Could robots be used to fight future pandemics? We review the fundamental requirements for robotics for infectious disease management and outline how robotic technologies can be used in different scenarios, including disease prevention and monitoring, clinical care, laboratory automation, logistics, and maintenance of socioeconomic activities. We also address some of the open challenges for developing advanced robots that are application oriented, reliable, safe, and rapidly deployable when needed. Last, we look at the ethical use of robots and call for globally sustained efforts in order for robots to be ready for future outbreaks. 
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