What Does Teleoperation Mean?

Teleoperation is the technical term for the operation of a machine, system or robot from a distance. The distance involved could vary from millions of kilometers as in space applications, to centimeters as in microsurgery or in micro-applications. Teleoperations most commonly consists of technology in which a remote robot is controlled by a human operator.


Teleoperation is also known as remote operation.

Techopedia Explains Teleoperation

Teleoperations have been used in areas where manual control is not feasible, is too expensive or is hazardous.

There are three main classifications used to distinguish the vast areas of teleoperation:

  • Closed-loop control
  • Coordinated teleoperation
  • Supervisory control

In closed-loop control or direct teleoperation, with the help of analog signals as well as real-time feedback, the operator controls the actuators of the device. Delays in the closed-loop technique are often minimal. In coordinated teleoperation, the operator has similar control over the actuators as in closed-loop control, however there is an additional internal control known as the remote loop. The remote loops close the control loops that the operator finds difficult to control due to delays. No autonomy is possible in the remote end. In supervisory control, most of the control is situated on the side of the teleoperator. The operator usually monitors and provides high-level commands, whereas the teleoperator performs some parts of the tasks in an autonomous fashion.

Teleoperation has wide range of applications such as industrial machinery, remote surgery, entertainment systems and drone technology.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.