Departmental Papers (CIS)

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper


6th International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS) (as part of CPS Week 2015), Seattle, WA, USA, April 14-16, 2015.


We propose an approach to synthesize control protocols for autonomous systems that account for uncertainties and imperfections in interactions with human operators. As an illustrative example, we consider a scenario involving road network surveillance by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is controlled remotely by a human operator but also has a certain degree of autonomy. Depending on the type (i.e., probabilistic and/or nondeterministic) of knowledge about the uncertainties and imperfections in the operatorautonomy interactions, we use abstractions based on Markov decision processes and augment these models to stochastic two-player games. Our approach enables the synthesis of operator-dependent optimal mission plans for the UAV, highlighting the effects of operator characteristics (e.g., workload, proficiency, and fatigue) on UAV mission performance; it can also provide informative feedback (e.g., Pareto curves showing the trade-offs between multiple mission objectives), potentially assisting the operator in decision-making.

Subject Area

CPS Formal Methods, CPS Embedded Control

Publication Source

Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Sixth International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems (ICCPS)

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Copyright/Permission Statement

© Owner/Authors | ACM 2015. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive Version of Record was published in Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Sixth International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems,


program synthesis, robotics, operator interfaces, user/machine systems, automatic programming, human factors, verification

Bib Tex

author = {Feng, Lu and Wiltsche, Clemens and Humphrey, Laura and Topcu, Ufuk},
title = {Controller Synthesis for Autonomous Systems Interacting with Human Operators},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE Sixth International Conference on Cyber-Physical Systems},
series = {ICCPS '15},
year = {2015},
isbn = {978-1-4503-3455-6},
location = {Seattle, Washington},
pages = {70--79},
numpages = {10},
url = {},
doi = {10.1145/2735960.2735973},
acmid = {2735973},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},



Date Posted: 12 October 2015

This document has been peer reviewed.