Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Lebenswissen­schaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Psychologie

A Taxonomy to Structure and Analyze Human-Robot Interaction


Robotic systems are one of the core technologies that will shape our future. Robots already change our private and professional life by working together with humans in various domains. Evoked by this increasing trend, great variability exists in terms of robots and interaction scenarios. This has boosted research regarding shaping factors of human-robot interaction (HRI). Nevertheless, this variety hinders the comparability and the generalizability of insights. What is needed for efficient research is a structured approach that allows the analysis of superordinate attributes, making previous HRI research comparable, revealing research gaps and thus guiding future research activities. Based on the review of previous HRI frameworks we developed a new HRI taxonomy that 1) takes into account the human, the robot, the interaction and the context of the HRI, 2) is applicable to various HRI scenarios and 3) provides predefined categories to enable structured comparisons of different HRI scenarios. A graphical representation of the taxonomy, including all possible classifications, eases the application to specific HRI scenarios. To demonstrate the use and value of this taxonomy, it is applied to different studies in HRI in order to identify possible reasons for contrasting results. The exemplified applications of the taxonomy underline its value as a basis for reviews and meta-analyses. Moreover, the taxonomy offers a framework for future HRI research as it offers guidance for systematic variations of distinctive variables in HRI.


The full text of this article will be published in the International Journal of Social Robotics. When working with the taxonomy (and the canvas representation) please always cite this article:

Onnasch, L. & Roesler, E. (2020). A taxonomy to structure and analyze human-robot interaction. International Journal of Social Robotics


To ease the application of the taxonomy we provide an interactive canvas that can be downloaded below. Categories can be selected by mouse click. When more categories within one variable should be selected, this can be done by “Ctrl” and mouse click.

Whereas this might be appropriate for some variables there are also categories that are mutually exclusive. These are exposure to (interaction context classification), morphology, autonomy (robot classification), and human role (team classification).




Download HRI canvas as pdf.