Hum Factors. 2015 Sep;57(6):959-75. doi: 10.1177/0018720814566454. Epub 2015 Jan 12.


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to develop and validate a computational model of the automation complacency effect, as operators work on a robotic arm task, supported by three different degrees of automation.

BACKGROUND: Some computational models of complacency in human-automation interaction exist, but those are formed and validated within the context of fairly simplified monitoring failures. This research extends model validation to a much more complex task, so that system designers can establish, without need for human-in-the-loop (HITL) experimentation, merits and shortcomings of different automation degrees.

METHOD: We developed a realistic simulation of a space-based robotic arm task that could be carried out with three different levels of trajectory visualization and execution automation support. Using this simulation, we performed HITL testing. Complacency was induced via several trials of correctly performing automation and then was assessed on trials when automation failed. Following a cognitive task analysis of the robotic arm operation, we developed a multicomponent model of the robotic operator and his or her reliance on automation, based in part on visual scanning.

RESULTS: The comparison of model predictions with empirical results revealed that the model accurately predicted routine performance and predicted the responses to these failures after complacency developed. However, the scanning models do not account for the entire attention allocation effects of complacency.

APPLICATIONS: Complacency modeling can provide a useful tool for predicting the effects of different types of imperfect automation. The results from this research suggest that focus should be given to supporting situation awareness in automation development.

PMID:25850111 | DOI:10.1177/0018720814566454