A topology of shared control systems: Finding common ground in diversity

David A. Abbink, Tom Carlson, Mark Mulder, Joost C.F. de Winter, Farzad Aminravan, Tricia L. Gibo, Erwin R. Boer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)


Shared control is an increasingly popular approach to facilitate control and communication between humans and intelligent machines. However, there is little consensus in guidelines for design and evaluation of shared control, or even in a definition of what constitutes shared control. This lack of consensus complicates cross fertilization of shared control research between different application domains. This paper provides a definition for shared control in context with previous definitions, and a set of general axioms for design and evaluation of shared control solutions. The utility of the definition and axioms are demonstrated by applying them to four application domains: automotive, robot-assisted surgery, brain–machine interfaces, and learning. Literature is discussed for each of these four domains in light of the proposed definition and axioms. Finally, to facilitate design choices for other applications, we propose a hierarchical framework for shared control that links the shared control literature with traded control, co-operative control, and other human–automation interaction methods. Future work should reveal the generalizability and utility of the proposed shared control framework in designing useful, safe, and comfortable interaction between humans and intelligent machines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-525
JournalIEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Automation
  • Automotive engineering
  • Control systems
  • Human-automation interaction
  • machine interaction
  • robot interaction (HRI)
  • Mobile robots
  • Robot sensing systems
  • shared control
  • supervisory control
  • Task analysis
  • traded control cooperation


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