Overtrust of robots in emergency evacuation scenarios

Paul Robinette, Wenchen Li, Robert Allen, Ayanna M. Howard, Alan R. Wagner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

274 Scopus citations


Robots have the potential to save lives in emergency scenarios, but could have an equally disastrous effect if participants overtrust them. To explore this concept, we performed an experiment where a participant interacts with a robot in a non-emergency task to experience its behavior and then chooses whether to follow the robot's instructions in an emergency or not. Artificial smoke and fire alarms were used to add a sense of urgency. To our surprise, all 26 participants followed the robot in the emergency, despite half observing the same robot perform poorly in a navigation guidance task just minutes before. We performed additional exploratory studies investigating different failure modes. Even when the robot pointed to a dark room with no discernible exit the majority of people did not choose to safely exit the way they entered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHRI 2016 - 11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781467383707
StatePublished - Apr 12 2016
Event11th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2016 - Christchurch, New Zealand
Duration: Mar 7 2016Mar 10 2016

Publication series

NameACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
ISSN (Electronic)2167-2148


Other11th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2016
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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