Jessie Yang, U-M Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) assistant professor, has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award for her research focused on one of the fundamental questions of human-technology partnership: how to facilitate the establishment of appropriate trust in technology. The related grant will greatly benefit her upcoming research project, which is set to begin on May 1, 2021 and conclude within the following five years.
“Advanced technologies such as autonomous vehicles and collaborative robots are entering every sector of the economy and will fundamentally alter the way people live and work,” said Yang. “However, realizing the full economic, safety, and health potential of these technologies is only possible if people establish appropriate trust in them. This project aims to understand and model the dynamics of trust development, and to develop adaptive autonomy that facilitates the establishment of appropriate trust.”
The project will involve a number of human-in-the-loop studies in which humans interact with autonomous drones in a search and rescue scenario where a sequence of tasks and decisions are required for operation success.
An additional aim of the research is to advance the knowledge of human-autonomy interaction within STEM fields through both education and workforce development.
For K-12 students, this will be done by developing outreach activities, with a particular emphasis on increasing the participation of women and underrepresented minorities within the field.
For working professionals, the aim is to aid them in adapting to future workplaces, spaces in which humans and autonomous agents will likely be working together as a team with increasing frequency.
“I’m honored to receive this award, and I’m excited for the opportunity to further advance my research in human-autonomy interaction and to inspire and train the next generation of human factors engineers,” said Yang.
Jessie Yang joined U-M IOE in 2016. Yang’s main research interests include human factors in high-risk industries and she is a core faculty member of the U-M IOE’s Center for Ergonomics and an affiliate faculty member of the U-M Robotics Institute.