Humans: Still Vital After All These Years of Automation

  • Parasuraman R
  • Wickens C
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Objective: The authors discuss empirical studies of human-automation interaction and their implications for automation design. Background: Automation is prevalent in safety-critical systems and increasingly in everyday life. Many studies of human per- formance in automated systems have been conducted over the past 30 years. Methods: Developments in three areas are examined: levels and stages of automation, reliance on and compliance with automation, and adaptive automation. Results: Automation applied to information analysis or decision-making functions leads to differential sys- tem performance benefits and costs that must be considered in choosing appropriate levels and stages of automation. Human user dependence on automated alerts and advisories reflects two components of operator trust, reliance and compliance, which are in turn determined by the threshold designers use to balance automation misses and false alarms. Finally, adaptive automation can provide additional benefits in bal- ancing workload and maintaining the user’s situation awareness, although more research is required to identify when adaptation should be user controlled or system driven. Conclusions: The past three decades of empirical research on humans and automation has provided a strong science base that can be used to guide the design of automated systems. Application: This research can be applied to most current and future auto- mated systems

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  • Raja Parasuraman

  • Christopher D. Wickens

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