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Detection of Operator Performance Breakdown as an Automation Triggering Mechanism  (2015)
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Performance breakdown (PB) has been anecdotally described as a state where the human operator "loses control of context" and "cannot maintain required task performance." Preventing such a decline in performance is critical to assure the safety and reliability of human-integrated systems, and therefore PB could be useful as a point at which automation can be applied to support human performance. However, PB has never been scientifically defined or empirically demonstrated. Moreover, there is no validated objective way of detecting such a state or the transition to that state. The purpose of this work is: 1) to empirically demonstrate a PB state, and 2) to develop an objective way of detecting such a state. This paper defines PB and proposes an objective method for its detection.

A human-in-the-loop study was conducted: 1) to demonstrate PB by increasing workload until the subject reported being in a state of PB, and 2) to identify possible parameters of a detection method for objectively identifying the subjectively-reported PB point, and 3) to determine if the parameters are idiosyncratic to an individual/context or are more generally applicable. In the experiment, fifteen participants were asked to manage three concurrent tasks (one primary and two secondary) for 18 minutes. The difficulty of the primary task was manipulated over time to induce PB while the difficulty of the secondary tasks remained static. The participants' task performance data was collected. Three hypotheses were constructed: 1) increasing workload will induce subjectively-identified PB, 2) there exists criteria that identifies the threshold parameters that best matches the subjectively- identified PB point, and 3) the criteria for choosing the threshold parameters is consistent across individuals. The results show that increasing workload can induce subjectively-identified PB, although it might not be generalizable-only 12 out of 15 participants declared PB. The PB detection method based on signal detection analysis was applied to the performance data and the results showed that PB can be identified using the method, particularly when the values of the parameters for the detection method were calibrated individually.
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Automation, Breakdown, Detection, Mechanism, Operator, Performance, Triggering
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In Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC), 2015 IEEE/AIAA 34rd
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Curator: Phil So
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Last Updated: August 15, 2019