Dynamic allocation of control functions between humans and control systems is referred to as adaptive automation. This type of automation has been shown to be superior to fixed automation for some monitoring tasks. While adaptive automation is superior to no automation, recent research shows that it is best applied to low-level cognitive tasks (Kaber, D.B., Wright, M.C., Prinzel, L.J., Clamann, M.P. “Adaptive automation of Human-Machine System Information-Processing Functions”, Human factors, Vol. 47, No. 4, Winter 2006, pp 730-741).
In this study, adaptive automation was applied to information acquisition, information analysis, decision-making, and action implementation for an air traffic control task. The greatest gains came in automation of the action implementation (simple motor tasks). This is consistent with Beville’s anecdotal evidence that batch programs to carry out a sequence of motor tasks (e.g, putting distillation train to minimum heat and maximum cooling) can aid operators during high stress conditions. The research indicates that the actual decision to remove the heat is best made by the operator.
While automation can provide great benefits to an organization in terms of safety as well as staffing, determination of what to automate and when is not always obvious. Beville can help to evaluate your current staffing and automation through our Job Sampling and Upset Response methodologies, incorporating the latest in human factors research to provide practical, real-world solutions.
Copyright © 2006 Beville Engineering, Inc., All Rights Reserved
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This year's Fall meeting for the Center for Operator Performance will be October 24-26 in Corpus Christi. For more information, please contact Lisa Via. Guests are always welcome!
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David Strobhar's book, "Human Factors in Process Plant Operation," is now available in both hardcover and Kindle e-book.
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