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Levels of Automation (LOA) provide a method for describing authority granted to automated system elements to make individual decisions. However, these levels are technology-centric and provide little insight into overall system operation. The current research discusses an alternate classification scheme, referred to as the Level of Human Control Abstraction (LHCA). LHCA is an operator-centric framework that classifies a system’s state based on the required operator inputs. The framework consists of five levels, each requiring less granularity of human control: Direct, Augmented, Parametric, Goal-Oriented, and Mission-Capable. An analysis was conducted of several existing systems. This analysis illustrates the presence of each of these levels of control, and many existing systems support system states which facilitate multiple LHCAs. It is suggested that as the granularity of human control is reduced, the level of required human attention and required cognitive resources decreases. Thus, it is suggested that designing systems that permit the user to select among LHCAs during system control may facilitate human-machine teaming and improve the flexibility of the system.


This is an open access article published by and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. CC BY 4.0

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Funding note: This research was partially funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Computational Cognition and Machine Intelligence Program.



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