2014-05-06 Disputation Jonas Andersson

Disputationer och lic-seminarier inom Ergonomi och Human Factors

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2014-05-06 Disputation Jonas Andersson

Post by Lars-Ola » 2014-Apr-29 11:00

Representing human-automation challenges
A model based approach for human factors engineering in industrial practice


Akademisk avhandling som för avläggande av teknologie doktorsexamen vid Chalmers tekniska högskola försvaras vid offentlig disputation den 6 maj 2014, klockan 10.00 i VF-salen, Sven Hultinsgata 6, Chalmers tekniska högskola, Göteborg.

Avhandlingen försvaras på engelska.

Fakultetsopponent är Professor Leena Norros, VTT, Finland.
Disputationstitelblad Jonas Andersson.pdf
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Automation technology is widely implemented in process control domains due to its benefits of
improving efficiency and enhancing control. However, use of automation also introduces an often
complex intermediary between the human and the controlled domain, which can obscure from the
operator how system functioning is achieved. The difficulty for operators to perceive and understand
what the automatic system is doing has a potentially negative impact on overall system performance,
since the human operator perform important functions in the work system related to both safety and
In this thesis it is argued that there are few approaches that address the problem specifically, and each
existing approach might individually not cover the entire problem scope in full detail. Further, current
methodologies seem to have difficulties in reaching applications apart from narrow human factors
engineering practices.
With this background in mind, the research work presented in this thesis has focused on how humanautomation
related challenges can be addressed to improve preconditions for operators in
understanding automatic system functioning. Creating the appropriate preconditions in control
environments is a multidisciplinary design challenge striving for safe and efficient work systems. The
purpose of this thesis was to aid human factors engineering practitioners in industry in dealing with
this challenge.
To fulfil the purpose, an existing theoretical model was adapted and used to describe humanautomation
challenges in general. This led to a theoretical unification of human-automation related
challenges and a way to describe challenges systematically. The unified format enables description
and analysis of automated human-machine systems in order to identify representational gaps and
matches in the work system. The theoretical model was then used as a basis for developing a method
named the “System Representation Matrix”. The System Representation Matrix enables description
and analysis of the dynamic domain, the control system, the control system user interface and the
necessary operator knowledge, in a unified representation.
Conclusions from testing and evaluating the method are that the System Representation Matrix can aid
creating an overview of automated human-machine systems. The overview has potential as an aid for
reasoning about matters of system functioning and design. In practice, the matrix could provide
support for design decisions, help define necessary operator knowledge and become a tool to aid
human factors engineering in multidisciplinary teams. This has the potential to lead to improved aid
for human factors engineers when dealing with human-automation challenges in industrial practice.

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