Human Systems Integration (HSI) is a multidisciplinary application of expertise that is heavily relied on in many domains including the military, aerospace and aviation. HSI optimizes the effectiveness of human interaction with the machine and ensures that technology, from development to acquisition, is focused on the requirements of the operator. HSI is finding wider adoption in heavy industrial applications due to its emphasis on improving operator safety and efficiency. HSI is a relatively new concept to drilling operations and has the potential to support significant improvements in performance and successful adoption of drilling systems automation.

Sensing, analyzing and taking action is a similar series of steps for humans and for automated systems. The transition from manual to autonomous operation can be described in a formal taxonomy of discrete levels of automation. Such taxonomy can be adopted for drilling systems automation application. Notably, automation will advance more rapidly in locations not suited to human control as well as for feedback loops requiring continuous and high-frequency adjustment. Improvement in the feedback loop and display to the driller in manual mode will improve drilling performance through a reduction of both Non Productive Time (NPT) and Invisible Lost Time (ILT). Carefully designed controls and system indicators within the operator workspace will enable the human to achieve maximum performance. We describe best practices for applying HSI principles to the operations controlled by drillers, directional drillers and other operators at varying levels of automation, specifically addressing human factors engineering, manpower/personnel, training, operational constraints of the drilling environment, occupational health and safety as well as pertinent organizational factors.

We demonstrate how managing change through the adoption of the aforementioned best practices in the drilling to human interface is critical to success as automation is advanced.

The positive impact of feeding back performance data, in a constructive manner, to the drill crew has been demonstrated through fleet-wide improvements in drill pipe connection times. The development of effective displays has been well advanced in aviation and aerospace and is now being adopted in design of automobiles, locomotive cabs, hospitals, nuclear power plants and many other applications. The application of HSI expertise to the design and implementation of the driller's console, such that it provides the appropriate type operational feedback to the driller, will enhance drilling performance and provide an effective implementation of automation. Further, the application of adaptive automation will optimize the workload of the driller.

Introduction of HSI to the drilling industry, articulation of the Levels of Automation Taxonomy and a roadmap to provide significant improvement in the feedback to the driller in both manual and automation modes will be vastly beneficial to the drilling industry.

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