Principles of Automation and Control

Levels of Automation

Author(s): Ilesanmi Afolabi Daniyan*, Lanre Daniyan, Adefemi Adeodu and Ikenna Uchegbu

Pp: 50-59 (10)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815080926123010009

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


This chapter discusses the levels of automation (LOA). The degree to which a system, process or task is automated is referred to as the level of automation. They are: manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic depending on the level of human involvement, the system or processes to be automated and the end users’ requirements. At the lowest level; the manual represents the human control level while the fully automatic level represents the computer controls level. At the semi-automatic level, the control activities involve both human and computer controls. The human control tasks include sensory processing for information acquisition, perception for information analysis, decision-making based on cognitive processing for action selection, and response selection for action implementation. Furthermore, this chapter also highlights the elements of system automation and classes of automated systems. The identification and specifications of the elements of the system’s automation based on the end-user requirements are a critical aspect of the control design phase. The major elements of the system’s automation include a sensor, a controller, an actuator, a power component, a motor and drives, a communication protocol, a human-machine interface, etc. Classes of automation systems could also be fixed, programmable, flexible, integrated, or cognitive automation depending on the need. The future of fully autonomous systems is exciting and promising although many industrial processes and systems are semi-autonomous thus relying on human factors such as physical, mental and technical capabilities such as intuition, perception, sensitivity, observation, experience, and judgment to arrive at effective decision making as it relates to system’s control.

Keywords: Computer control, human control, LOA, system automation.

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