The era of increasingly intelligent technologies:

Insights into human-automation interaction schemes across different environments, contexts, and tasks



Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) have begun to penetrate every area of human life including work, transportation, healthcare, and leisure environments. These advancements promise many benefits, such as improving public safety, providing convenience, extending human abilities, and enabling mobility. However, as automation and AI become increasingly integrated into our daily activities, there are several societal challenges and unanswered research questions that must be addressed related to the roles and responsibilities of humans within human-automation systems, the impact of automation on human behavior and performance, and the perception of (potential) users regarding the utility and usability of intelligent systems. This presentation will discuss a series of research projects aimed at developing and/or evaluating various autonomous systems in different knowledge work environments. Studies involve: 1) predictions of situation awareness using physiological sensing in automated vehicles, 2) assessments of workload and performance with increasing levels of automation support for X-ray screening tasks, 3) evaluations of automatic speech-to-text tools for communicating weather information in aviation, and 4) evaluations of a fully autonomous, universally-designed vehicle prototype for people with travel-limiting disabilities. Findings from this research are expected to contribute to the broader discussion on how to thoughtfully design collaborative human-automation systems that successfully leverage the unique strengths and capabilities of each acting agent.



Dr. Brandon J. Pitts is an Assistant Professor in the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. At Purdue, he is also Director of the Next-generation Human-systems and Cognitive Engineering (NHanCE) Lab, Faculty Associate with the Center on Aging and the Life Course (CALC), and Co-Director of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Center of Excellence for Technical Training and Human Performance (TTHP). His research interests include human factors, cognitive engineering, human-automation interaction, cyber-physical-human systems, interface design, gerontechnology, and inclusive design in complex transportation and work environments, such as driving and aviation. In 2022, Dr. Pitts’ co-led team, EASI RIDER, was named the 1st place winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Inclusive Design Challenge (IDC) for their life-size autonomous vehicle solution that seeks to enable independent and seamless travel for individuals with disabilities. His research has been funded by sponsors such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), DOT, FAA, and Ford Motor Company. Dr. Pitts completed a B.S. in Industrial Engineering at Louisiana State University in 2010, and a M.S.E and Ph.D. in Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan (UM), Ann Arbor, MI in 2013 and 2016, respectively. Prior to his faculty appointment, he was a Research Fellow in the UM Center for Healthcare Engineering and Patient Safety (CHEPS). He is also a registered Engineer Intern (E.I.T).