Overcoming Critical Barriers to Assurance and Regulation of Robotics and Autonomous Systems

Dr Ana MacIntosh

Programme Manager, Assuring Autonomy International Programme, University of York

Dr Richard Hawkins

Senior Research Fellow, Assuring Autonomy International Programme, University of York

The Assuring Autonomy International Programme (AAIP) is spearheading research, training and standards in the safety of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS). A major part of the programme is to develop a Body of Knowledge (BoK) that becomes the de facto reference source for professionals working in this field. This BoK will be a structured, curated knowledge base covering state-of-the-art techniques, methods and processes for engineering, assuring, deploying, regulating and operating RAS.

The AAIP will identify Critical Barriers to Assurance and Regulation (C-BARs). A C-BAR is a problem that must be solved for a particular system, in order to avoid one or more of the following risks:

•             A safe system cannot be deployed (losing the benefit of the technology);

•             An unsafe system is deployed (lack of clear evidence to assure operation);

•             The adoption of safe technology is slow;

•             There is a lack of progress in adoption in a particular domain;

•             The level of accidents and incidents leads to a backlash.

Addressing the C-BARs will be the focus of the BoK. The C-BARs will also be used to focus the demonstrator projects that are commissioned by the project.

We will introduce the Programme and discuss the C-BARs that we have identified. We will briefly consider how the demonstrator projects will help to address these issues.

About Dr Ana MacIntosh

Ana MacIntosh manages the £12M Assuring Autonomy International Programme (AAIP), for which she has strategic and operational responsibility for commissioning, funding and managing a portfolio of world-class research; alongside leading the development of strategic partnerships with global stakeholders. Her background spans engineering, science, and medicine, and she previously managed Sheffield Robotics, an interdisciplinary research institute. Ana has experience of developing and supporting innovation activities, collaborative R&D, and fundamental research.

About Dr Richard Hawkins

Richard Hawkins is a Senior Research Fellow in the Assuring Autonomy International Programme, investigating the assurance and regulation of robotic and autonomous systems. Prior to joining the AAIP he was a Lecturer in the High Integrity Systems Engineering (HISE) research group at the University of York where his research focused on the safety and assurance of software systems and the development of assurance cases. He previously worked as a Software Safety Engineer for BAE Systems and as a safety adviser in the nuclear industry.

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