Control and automation have a long and successful history. Revolutionary advances in computing, networking, communications, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have created new opportunities for advancing control and automation methods to address major societal needs.
The Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) framework has successfully enabled multidisciplinary research involving control systems, communications, networking, sensing, and computing to develop new theoretical foundations as well as addressed several major technological applications, including those in transportation, aerospace, health and medicine, robotics, manufacturing, energy, and the environment. The current interest in autonomous vehicles is a great example illustrating the potential for groundbreaking advances in the field.
Cyber-physical systems and humans require critically important interactions from each other. These interactions can occur at various levels: as individuals in the home or in public, as private organizations integrating cyber-physical systems into their operations, or as community infrastructure systems. As examples, an individual may interact with a robot at home or an autonomous vehicle on the road; a manufacturing firm may integrate robots and intelligent systems to maximize its productivity; and a city or state may leverage smart grid technologies and renewable energy to reach its clean energy goals.
It is apparent that the ultimate societal outcomes of future cyber-physical systems technologies will hinge upon a deeper understanding of the interactions between cyber-physical systems and humans. This understanding will inform the best design of the overall system and enable the achievement of useful outcomes for individuals, organizations, and society as a whole. How will we achieve such a deep understanding? We believe that now is an opportune time to bring together knowledge from social and behavioral sciences in conjunction with control and automation to help answer fundamental questions. Within social and behavioral sciences, we believe that cognitive science, economics, sociology, and anthropology have particular relevance to this integration.
Some of the fundamental questions to be addressed in the area of Cyber-Physical and Human Systems are: