Proceedings of the

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

Investigating the Impact of Day-Night Conditions and Time Progression on the Fatigue of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ship Remote Operators: Implications for Remote Control Centre Design

Zhihong Li1,2,3,a, Chengpeng Wan1,2,b, Zhe Mao1,2,c and Di Zhang1,2,d

1State Key Laboratory of Maritime Technology and Safety, Wuhan University of Technology, China.

2Intelligent Transportation Systems Research Center, Wuhan University of Technology, China /EADDRESS/
3School of Transportation and Logistics Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology, China /EADDRESS/


Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) have attracted significant interest in recent years due to their potential to confer economic, safety, and environmental benefits. However, a key aspect of the MASS system that remains unclear is the scientific and reasonable design of Remote Control Centers (RCCs), which is responsible for remotely controlling and monitoring MASS operations. RCC design can significantly impact the performance of remote operators. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the impact of day-night conditions and time progression on the workload and fatigue level of MASS remote operators, in order to provide guidelines for RCC design. A remote-control simulation platform was utilised to conduct two rounds of 4-hour daytime and night-time remote control experiments. Physiological data were collected in real-time using various measurement instruments, and the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS), Reaction time (RT), and NASA Task Load Index (NASA-TLX) were assessed every 25 minutes. Some findings suggest that fatigue level in the night-time condition is higher than in the daytime condition, sleepiness significantly increased over time and reached a peak at around 1.5 hours (daytime) and 2 hours (night-time), before maintaining a steady level, which means day-night conditions and time progression can significantly impact remote control operators' performance potentially leading to decreased performance and increased risk of misoperation. The study highlights the need for effective work schedules and interventions to improve remote control operators' performance in MASS operations. This research takes the first step to the investigation of the remote control centre operator, and could provide valuable insights into the design of RCCs, which will improve the performance of RCC operations and ensure the safety of MASSs.

Keywords: Maritime autonomous surface ships, Remote control centers, Fatigue, Shift configuration.

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