Situation awareness (SA) is an essential quality for humans performing complex tasks in dynamic environments. This quality has been regarded a useful feature in software agents that can improve agent performance by allowing more informed decisions about the choice of actions to be made. To achieve SA, it is necessary to alter agent behavior in ways such that perceptual attention is directed at the most relevant features of the environment and the decision-making concerning “what to do next” is closely linked to the agent's perceived state of the environment. The engineering effort of implementing SA in software agents can be substantial. It requires making changes to the agent's internal processes and the way agent designers capture a domain expert's knowledge and prescribe agent actions. This article discusses how these changes can be implemented using a software engineering approach, allowing the scope and impact of the changes to be analyzed and evaluated from a system architect's perspective and alongside with other desirable agent capabilities.
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