DS0301 - Travail –place de l’homme, organisation des écosystèmes, valeur sociétale

Mediated AGency for human machine Interface Conception and evaluation – MAGIC

Submission summary

The world surrounding us has become increasingly technological. Nowadays, the influence of automation is perceived in each aspect of everyday life and not only in the world of industry. Automation certainly makes some aspects of life easier, faster and safer. Nonetheless, empirical data suggests that traditional automation has many negative performance and safety consequences. Three examples suffice: the crash of flight 447 of Air France between Rio de Janeiro and Paris in 2009, the Three Mile Island nuclear incident of 1979, and the case of Knight Capital which lost about 400M$ due to a computer bug in 2012. These cases show that, in cases of automatic equipment failure, human supervisors seemed effectively helpless. When they attempted to diagnose the situation, determine the appropriate solution and retake control, a set of difficulties called the “out-of-the-loop” performance problem rapidly arose. Because automation is not powerful enough to handle all abnormalities, this difficulty in “takeover” is a central problem in automation design.

The OOL performance problem represents a key challenge for both systems designers and human factor society. After decades of research (from Bainbridge, 1983 to Baxter, 2012), this phenomenon remains difficult to grasp and treat and recent tragic accidents remind us the difficulty for human operator to interact with highly automated system. The general objective of this research project is to improve our comprehension of the OOL performance problem. To address this issue, our project will meet the following goals: (1) to identify the neuro-functional correlates of the OOL performance problem, (2) to propose design recommendations to optimize human-automation interaction and decrease OOL performance problem occurrence. Behavioural data and brain imaging studies will be used to provide a better understanding of this phenomenon at both physiological and psychological levels.

Regarding the first objective, we propose to use the recent insight in neuroscience about the characterization of the processes of vigilance, attention and performance monitoring to (1) characterize the degradation of the human activity during OOL episodes, but also to (2) understand the dynamics toward such degraded state. Part (1) will focus on the identification of the physiological markers of the performance monitoring functions when engage in supervisory task and the characterization of the degradation of this monitoring function during OOL episodes. Part (2) will focus on the change in the attention and vigilance mechanisms during OOL episodes, with a particular interest for the mind wandering phenomenon. Taking together, these results will help us to identify both physiological markers and physiological precursors of the OOL phenomenon and help in the monitoring of the operator state regarding this phenomenon.

Regarding the second objective, we propose to use the recent insight in psychology about the mechanism underlying the control of cooperative action to design more collaborative automation technology. Particularly, we assume that using the tools proposed by the framework of agency, ergonomists could design automation interfaces that are more predictable, and therefore more acceptable and more controllable.In this sense, we will try to understand (1) how to design predictable system, (2) the link between system predictability and OOL episodes occurrence, and (3) how recover human control when these OOL episodes occur.

This project will have both theoretical and applied benefits. At the theoretical level, it will help to understand both the monitoring function in case of supervisory task but also to characterize this crucial OOL phenomenon. At the applied level, it could both enforce safety and diminish fatigue of humans when interacting with highly automated system and pave the future to new brain computer interfaces to facilitate the exchange between human and machines.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Bruno Berberian (Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


ONERA Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales

Help of the ANR 274,999 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2015 - 42 Months

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