Designing for Exit: How to Let Robots Go

Bjorling, E. and Riek, L.D., In Proceedings of We Robot 2022 [Acceptance rate: 22%]. (2022).
Full text


The field of human-robot interaction (HRI) has, for decades, focused on sustaining engagement with robots. However, all interactions with robots will end, but this notion is neglected in both the literature and in practice, which has led to deleterious effects for vulnerable users. In this paper, we introduce a new design principle: Designing for Exit, a deliberate design process which leads to, and in many cases assumes, a well-defined ending. Ultimately, the goal is to give users more con- trol over their engagements and disengagements with robots, and give guidelines to robot creators on how to best plan for and facilitate exit. We define and give examples of the types of exit in HRI, and introduce five exit principles for researchers and designers to consider to raise awareness of and ideally mitigate some of the potential harms of exit. We also provide suggestions for how researchers and robot designers can collaboratively build an exit plan with users.