Webinar: How HFES Knowledge Can Unlock Remote Control Potential – Understanding Motion Sickness and Fostering Situation Awareness

June 21st, 10am EST

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In recent years there has been a significant trend across various domains shifting from local to remote control. Remote control has advantages, such as increased efficiency or safer working environments for operators. Remote control can especially be interesting when it allows operators to quickly switch between controlled objects, or remotely locate patients, without the need to travel between different areas. Since it does not require an operator to be on-site, remote control can reduce the logistical impact of disruptions of autonomous operating systems. Additionally, it allows for operation in hazardous or remote locations without exposing individuals to potential risks. Remote control, however, significantly changes the operator’s role and introduces new human-machine interactions. Although executed tasks may stay the same, remote control commonly changes how operators receive visual, auditive, and tactile cues. It introduces remote workplaces for the operator and new technical components such as cameras, sensors, and information elements that require monitoring, such as the connectivity with the remote location. Consequently, the way people acquire situation awareness is changed. For example, from practical experience, we know that it is often more difficult for people to estimate distance or speed based on camera images compared to direct vision, and these estimates are influenced by the choice of camera type and lenses. People in local settings can also use auditory and tactile information that is not explicitly designed for the task but does provide them with information on the basis of which situations can be assessed; think of auditory and tactile information that helps a driver notice slipperiness on the road or defects in the vehicle. The poverty of visual, auditory, and tactile information in remote control can lead to a mismatch in the perception of movement and thus induce symptoms of motion sickness. While we’ve experienced that operators can cope with a limited and stable delay in system response time, fluctuations in latency are more difficult to compensate for.

  Considering the above, remote control is a topic that raises several human factors and ergonomics questions that our community can help to answer. It is a topic that is of relevance for multiple technical groups, that can profit from knowledge exchange between technical groups, and where HFES can help translate our knowledge to practitioners in different domains – from surface transportation to aviation, from healthcare to process control, and beyond. To stimulate this, the Performance and Perception Technical Group of HFES is hosting a webinar on remote control systems. This webinar will focus on the challenges that operators of remote systems face such as motion sickness and situation awareness, culminating in a discussion of the research and regulation needs in this domain. I invite you all to take this opportunity to learn from our speakers and, above all, to contribute your own knowledge and questions.

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