Prof. Vaibhav Unhelkar

Human-Centered AI and Robotics Group
PI: Prof. Vaibhav Unhelkar
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Department of Computer Science, Rice University, O'Connor Building for Engineering & Sciences #490, 6100 Main St, Houston, TX - 77005

Welcome to the Human-Centered AI and Robotics (HCAIR) Group! We are part of the Department of Computer Science at Rice University, and are located in the O’Connor Building at the George R. Brown School of Engineering.

We envision a future where robots and AI systems support humans as assistants, teammates, and even trainers. We are developing computational foundations of these interactive AI systems that enhance human capability. Our research methodology involves developing machine learning and decision-making algorithms, prototyping them, and evaluating them with human users.

To arrive at the computational foundations of such interactive AI systems, it is essential to ground research in both near-term and futuristic applications. In ongoing work, we are exploring applications in healthcare and disaster response. We are fortunate to have collaborators with deep expertise in human factors, team science and medicine. By merging our computational expertise with domain expertise of our collaborators, we are developing solutions to model human behavior, train teams of humans and robots, and explain behavior of AI systems.

Please see our publications or contact us to learn more. If you are interested in being part of our team, please check out the Join page. Interested Rice students should also consider taking our courses on reinforcement learning and human-robot interaction.

Research Areas

Selected Projects

Selected Publications

For a complete list, please check out the publications page.
  1. HRI
    RW4T Dataset: Data of Human-Robot Behavior and Cognitive States in Simulated Disaster Response Tasks
    Liubove Orlov-Savko*, Zhiqin Qian*, Gregory Gremillion, Catherine Neubauer, Jonroy Canady, Vaibhav Unhelkar
    In ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), 2024
  2. AAAI
    GO-DICE: Goal-conditioned Option-aware Offline Imitation Learning
    In AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), 2024
  3. TPAMI
    Towards Human-centered Explainable AI: User Studies for Model Explanations
    Yao Rong, Tobias Leemann, Thai-trang Nguyen, Lisa Fiedler, Peizhu Qian, Vaibhav Unhelkar, Tina Seidel, Gjergji Kasneci, Enkelejda Kasneci
    IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TPAMI), 2023
  4. AAMAS
    Evaluating the Role of Interactivity on Improving Transparency in Autonomous Agents
    In International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (AAMAS), 2022
  5. ICRA
    Human-Guided Motion Planning in Partially Observable Environments
    Carlos Quintero-Pena*, Constantinos Chamzas*, Zhanyi Sun, Vaibhav Unhelkar, Lydia E Kavraki
    In International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2022
  6. CogSIMA
    Towards an AI Coach to Infer Team Mental Model Alignment in Healthcare
    Sangwon Seo, Lauren Kennedy-Metz, Marco Zenati, Julie Shah, Roger Dias, Vaibhav Unhelkar
    In International Conference on Cognitive and Computational Aspects of Situation Management (CogSIMA), 2021