Automation strategies in five domains - A comparison of levels of automation, function allocation and visualisation of automatic functions
This study was conducted as a field study were control room operators
and engineers from the refinery, heat & power, aviation, shipping and
nuclear domain were interviewed regarding use of automation and the
visualisation of automatic functions. The purpose of the study was to
collect experiences and best practices from the five studied domains on
levels of automation, function allocation and visualisation of automatic
functions. In total, nine different control room settings were visited. The
studied settings were compared using a systemic approach based on a
human-machine systems model.
The results show that the “left over principle” is still the most common
applied approach for function allocation but in high risk settings the
decision whether to automate or not is more carefully considered.
Regarding the visualisation of automatic functions, it was found that as
long as each display type (process based, functional oriented, situation
oriented and task based) are applied so that they correspond to the same
level of abstraction as the technical system the operator’s mental model
will be supported. No single display type can however readily match all
levels of abstraction at the same time – all display types are still needed
and serve different purposes.