October 23, 2017

Science on Tap features making humans, automation work together

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University associate head of the School of Industrial Engineering Steve Landry will lead the next session of Purdue Science on Tap this week.

His Science on Tap talk, titled “Making humans and automation work together, or why we won’t have self-driving cars (for now),” is at 6 p.m. Thursday (October 26) on the top floor of Lafayette Brewing Company, 622 Main St., Lafayette. The informal talk is free and open to those 21 and older.

The Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and the School of Industrial Engineering are sponsoring Thursday’s event.

Landry will talk about the issues with developing highly automated systems as well as possible, but undeveloped and untested ways to move forward in automation.

He noted the early principles for automation in vehicles were applicable to simple labor-saving technologies such as cruise control. Such automation would allow the function to be easily monitored and, upon failure, controlled by the operator.

“The result is systems that are so automated that people don’t know what the automation is doing. But the systems still really can’t be left to operate without human oversight." Landry said.

Self-driving cars are such an example, he said. 

Landry, also an associate professor (by courtesy) in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is a member of the faculty leadership team at Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering (RCHE) in Purdue’s Discovery Park. Landry earned his master’s in aeronautics and astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate at Georgia Institute of Technology, concentrating on human-machine systems. He also spent time as a research engineer at NASA's Ames Research Center in California, and was an Air Force pilot for eight years prior to returning to graduate school.

He joined the Purdue faculty in 2005. His research focuses on air transportation systems engineering, flight deck human factors, safety in human-integrated systems and human performance modeling.

Science on Tap, now led by graduate students Elizabeth Phillips, Matthew Pharris and Paula Cooper, provides Purdue faculty and collaborating researchers the opportunity to share research activities in an informal setting with presentations designed to appeal to a more general audience. Attendance at the event has averaged 80 during the program's first five years. 

Writer: Brian L. Huchel, 765-494-2084, bhuchel@purdue.edu

Source: Matt Pharris, mpharris@purdue.edu

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