Can we talk? How a talking agent can improve human autonomy team performance

Adam Bogg, Stewart Birrell, Michael A. Bromfield, Andrew M. Parkes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
    83 Downloads (Pure)


    High levels of automation in future aviation technologies such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems could lead to human operators losing essential Situation Awareness and becoming 'out-of-the-loop'. Research into Human Autonomy Teaming proposes that improved communication between the human and autonomous agents of a system can address this problem. However, knowledge around the effect of automation audio communication is lacking in the literature and we propose audio-voice conversation would provide the optimum form of communication. In this study we evaluated the impact that providing a conversational interface to a synthetic teammate had on the performance, Situation Awareness and perception of teaming of the human teammate. Twenty-four participants conducted experimental trials on a computer-based task adapted from a Levels Of Automation test method developed by Endsley and Kaber (1999). The results show that synthetic voice communication had a significant positive effect on human performance and perception of teaming. Also demonstrated was that teaming structure has an effect on how that performance increases, with participants in higher Levels Of Automation where the automation provides decision making advice demonstrating a habit of consistently following voice provided advice, even when that advice results in the participant adopting new behaviours and taking more risks.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)488-509
    Number of pages22
    JournalTheoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science
    Issue number4
    Early online date25 Nov 2020
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science on 25/11/2020, available online:

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • Human autonomy teaming
    • SA
    • conversational interface

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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