Collaborative robots promise to transform work across many industries and promote human-robot teaming as a novel paradigm. However, realizing this promise requires the understanding of how existing tasks, developed for and performed by humans, can be effectively translated into tasks that robots can singularly or human-robot teams can collaboratively perform. In the interest of developing tools that facilitate this process we present Authr, an end-to-end task authoring environment that assists engineers at manufacturing facilities in translating existing manual tasks into plans applicable for human-robot teams and simulates these plans as they would be performed by the human and robot. We evaluated Authr with two user studies, which demonstrate the usability and effectiveness of Authr as an interface and the benefits of assistive task allocation methods for designing complex tasks for human-robot teams. We discuss the implications of these findings for the design of software tools for authoring human-robot collaborative plans.


  author = {Schoen, Andrew and Henrichs, Curt and Strohkirch, Mathias and Mutlu, Bilge},
  title = {Authr: A Task Authoring Environment for Human-Robot Teams},
  year = {2020},
  isbn = {9781450375146},
  publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
  address = {New York, NY, USA},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1145/3379337.3415872},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology},
  pages = {1194–1208},
  numpages = {15}, 
  keywords = {human-robot collaboration, visual programming, task allocation, authoring},
  location = {Virtual Event, USA},
  series = {UIST '20}