Pilot Experiment (Dec17 to Feb18)

Pilot experiment

The submarine control room is a complex sociotechnical system. There are specific roles for each team member, which must be met for the overall goal to be achieved. A common goal for the submarine control room is to remain undetected whilst establishing and maintaining an accurate picture of all the vessels and other contacts around them. This means detecting all vessels within sensor range and reporting to command their range, bearing, course, speed, and classification.

In this experiment participants take the role of one of four submarine control room crew positions within a submarine control room simulation. These are

  • Optics (periscope)
  • TMA (Track Motion Analyst)
  • Track Manager
  • Sonar

Each role has specific and distinct tasks. Each person must work with others in the team to achieve the objective. That is, to “Provide an accurate tactical picture to Command’.

The pilot experiment will be held over two days. Participants will be introduced to their role and trained in their tasks on the first day. The experimental conditions will be examined on the second day. This involves participants undertaking a one hour submarine patrol under condition one. This is followed by a short break. A second one-hour patrol is under the second condition. We are investigating spatial orientation so console configuration will be different in the two conditions.

Participating in this pilot experiment is a great opportunity to learn about the actual tasks of submariners in track management. The tasks are based on those undertaken by submariners and has been developed in conjunction with Royal Australian Navy guidance.