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Automation-Adoption Approach Maps Human/System Interaction

This paper describes the progress of directional-drilling-automation systems along the cognitive functions and levels of automation as defined by the Levels of Automation Taxonomy (LOAT) hierarchy introduced by the Drilling Systems Automation Roadmap Industry Initiative. LOAT is based on incremental automation of the four cognitive functions of interaction. Levels of human/system interaction are described on a nine-point scale ranging from fully manual, to levels of system support for the human, to levels of automation overseen by the human, to full automation.

The LOAT Hierarchy

LOAT is a powerful tool for mapping the transition from a purely manual process, to the degree of automation that any system can achieve in the early transition phase, through a timeline to full automation. The transition levels from manual to autonomous were likened to the four cognitive functions that occur in both human interaction with machinery and automated interaction with machinery. These four functions, based on a staged model of human information processing, were translated into equivalent sequential functions applicable to both human processing and automated processing. These functions are

  • Information acquisition
  • Information analysis
  • Decision and action selection
  • Action implementation

Automation is often perceived as automation of the action-sequence execution, the implementation of the decision for action by a robot or robotic mechanism. In reality, it is easier and more reliable to apply degrees of automation to the information-acquisition and information-analysis cognitive functions of the control process before decision-making and certainly before action-sequence execution.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 191408, “Automating Directional Drilling: Technology-Adoption Staircase Mapping Levels of Human Interaction,” by Robert Wylie, SPE, xnDrilling; Kevin McClard, Performance Drilling Technologies; and John de Wardt, SPE, De Wardt and Company, prepared for the 2018 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, 24–26 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Automation-Adoption Approach Maps Human/System Interaction

01 February 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 2

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