HSE & Sustainability

SPE and HFES Team Up To Look at Human Side of Automation

Webinar will examine how human factors can help with implementing automation in the oil and gas industry.

Touch with virtual reality.
Source: Ilya Lukichev/Getty Images

To kick off a new memorandum of understanding between the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), an online seminar is set to explore the role of humans in automation. The webinar is planned for 6 January.

One of the conundrums of automated systems is that, the better they are, the lower the situational awareness of the human operators and the less likely that they will be able to take manual control when needed.

At the same time, automated systems are rapidly growing in popularity in the oil and gas sector because of their many advantages, from reducing mistakes to improving efficiency. However, as the science from situational awareness has found, these systems introduce new challenges and risks.

An upcoming discussion with Mica Endsley and Marcin Nazaruk will look at how the science of situational awareness can be applied and translated to the complexities of the oil and gas sector.

Endsley, president of SA Technologies and former chief scientist for the US Air Force, will introduce the “human/autonomy systems oversight model” presented in her paper, “From Here to Autonomy.” The model was developed based on several decades of applied research that includes out-of-the-loop performance problems, monitoring, and trust, among many others.

Endsley has also held the positions of visiting associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of associate professor of industrial engineering at Texas Tech University. She is a fellow and past president of HFES. She holds a PhD degree in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Southern California. Endsley has authored more than 200 scientific articles and is the co-author of the books “Situation Awareness Analysis and Measurement” and “Designing for Situation Awareness”

Nazaruk, chair of SPE’s Human Factors Technical Section, will present some of the design challenges in the oil and gas sector that are currently being addressed through automation. The webinar will provide an opportunity to discover and discuss some key solutions for reducing the risk of human performance issues when interacting with autonomous systems, such as human/automation interface features, central automation interaction paradigms consisting of levels of automation, adaptive automation, and granularity of control approaches.

Nazaruk specializes in safety transformation through the practical application of human factors, human performance, and safety. He has held several senior leadership roles in the energy industry focused on the practical and scalable implementation of human performance strategies, tools, and solutions. Nazaruk holds an applied PhD degree in human factors, and MBA degree, and a broad range of advanced qualifications in management, industrial psychology, systems thinking, culture change, and behavioral science. His multidisciplinary approach has led to innovative and practical solutions that have attracted multiple industry awards. Nazaruk is the author of multiple industry guides published by the International Organization of Oil and Gas Producers, SPE, and the Energy Institute.

Register for the webinar here.