A task analysis approach to quantify bottlenecks in task completion time of telemanipulated maintenance

Henri Boessenkool*, Jeroen G.W. Wildenbeest, Cock J.M. Heemskerk, Marco R. de Baar, Maarten Steinbuch, David A. Abbink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Telemanipulation techniques allow for human-in-the-loop assembly and maintenance tasks in otherwise inaccessible environments. Although it comes with limitations in achieved performance - required strict operator selection and extensive training are widely encountered - there is very little quantitative insight in the exact problems operators encounter during task execution. This paper provides a novel hierarchical task analysis approach to identify the most time-consuming subtask elements and to quantify the potential room for performance improvement during telemanipulated maintenance tasks. The approach is illustrated with a human factors case study in which 5 subjects performed six generic maintenance tasks, using a six degree of freedom master device connected to a simulated task environment. Overall it can be concluded that the proposed three phased task analysis is a useful tool to guide improvements since it is able to relate high-level problems (e.g. large variability) to behaviour on lower task-levels. For the case study, the largest potential for improvement was found for specific subtasks characterized by complex contact transitions and precise control of tool orientation, and in the reduction of variation of the task execution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-308
JournalFusion Engineering and Design
Volume129 (April 2018)
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Human factors
  • Remote maintenance
  • Task analysis
  • Task performance
  • Tele-operation


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