Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

A Common Operator Control Unit Color Scheme for Mobile Robots



Michael O. Shneier, Roger V. Bostelman, James S. Albus, William P. Shackleford, Tommy Chang, Tsai Hong Hong


The Intelligent Systems Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has partici-pated in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) Learning Applied to Ground Robots (LAGR) project for the past 2 ? years. In Phase 2 of the LAGR pro-gram, NIST was asked to provide a standard operator con-trol unit (OCU) color scheme for all LAGR teams to use. The standard color scheme simplifies the task of LAGR?s evaluation team by providing a straightforward way to compare the performance of each of the teams using the different OCUs. During Phase 1, LAGR performers applied their own standards to the OCU color scheme and DARPA and other performers had a very difficult experience evalu-ating what the robot was computing based on stereo image, instrumented bumper, and inertial data.  NIST developed the color scheme based on real-world conventions and on the desire to accommodate as much of the teams? existing color schemes as possible. For example, typically red lights mean stop and green lights mean go for automobiles. This scheme was adopted by coloring obstacles red and traversable ground green in the new standard color scheme. Red, green, blue (RGB) colors were produced for a variety of necessary parameters includ-ing: unknown regions, lethals, bumper hits, road/path, planned and traversed paths, goal, and waypoints. Also, vehicle modes were expressed such as: Normal Control, Aggressive, Backing, Stopped, and Manual modes.  The paper discusses the Standard Color Scheme for Ground Robots developed for the LAGR Program.
Proceedings Title
Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems Workshop | 2007 | PerMIS |
Conference Dates
August 28-30, 2007
Conference Location
Gaithersburg, MD
Conference Title
Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems (PerMIS) 2007


color scheme, operator control unit, mobile robot, standard, DARPA LAGR, performance measurement


Shneier, M. , Bostelman, R. , Albus, J. , Shackleford, W. , Chang, T. and , T. (2007), A Common Operator Control Unit Color Scheme for Mobile Robots, Performance Metrics for Intelligent Systems Workshop | 2007 | PerMIS |, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed June 20, 2024)


If you have any questions about this publication or are having problems accessing it, please contact

Created December 28, 2007, Updated January 27, 2020