Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

Challenges and Emerging Practices in Design of Automation

Dorthea Mathilde Kristin Vatn1,a, Stig Ole Johnsen1,b and Mina Saghafian2

1SINTEF Digital, SINTEF, Norway.

2Department of Design, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway.


Automation is expected to improve efficiency, as well as increase safety and quality. However, as more automation is added to a system, the lower the situation awareness of the operators may be. In safety critical systems this could have severe effects. Recent accidents illustrate that poor design and poor implementation of automated systems may contribute to accidents. This underlines the importance of investigating the role and use of design guidelines and best practices of human-autonomy interfaces, to ensure that these systems are designed in a way that aligns with human capabilities. Semi-structured interviews with 14 experts involved in design were conducted to identify challenges in design when introducing automation, as well as identify emerging practises in use. The interview notes were subject to a thematic analysis, and this resulted in the two main themes, "Challenges in design" and "Emerging practices in design", which each has its associated sub themes. The themes underline the need to update methods and standards to overcome challenges, as well as ensuring that best practices are used. There is a growing awareness that introduction of automation requires regulation, innovation and development in design methods and standards, and a key element in these methods and standards will be involvement of users through user centred design.

Keywords: Design, Safety, Automation, Autonomy, Human factors.

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