Very soon autonomous vessels will navigate over the Trondheim Fjord or along the east coast of Norway. The question is: could autonomous vessels also be unmanned? Researchers think differently on this, as became clear at the Human Factors in Control Forum Meeting, 17-18 October 2017 in Trondheim.
In any case, there will be supervision and remote control from on-shore control centres. Vincent Rumawas presented his PhD study on seafarer tasks and challenges for automation. In his view full automation is not an option. Hans van den Broek (TNO) doesn’t believe either in full autonomy. The human operator will always be supervising the (remote) system, possibly supported by high level decision support systems.
The technology sector believes in full autonomy, after further development of automation systems. It remembered me of a classic article written by Lisanne Bainbridge in the 80’s, related to chemical process plant automation: the ironies of automation. Amongst others it concluded that you will always need a human operator, hence optimize his job. This is also the good thing about Human Factors in Control. It is a meeting place for human factors professionals, researchers, and (mainly Norwegian) industries in oil & gas, shipping, and control systems.
The Human Factors in Control Forum organizes two-day seminars in April and October. ErgoS is a member of the Human Factors in Control Forum. Papers and presentation of the Forum meetings can be found at https://www.sintef.no/projectweb/hfc-e/.