Course: Advanced Topics in Safety (ADTS)

Advanced Topics in Safety (ADTS)

Tuesday 25 - Thursday 27 April, 2023 - Department of Computer Science, University of York


Advanced Topics in Safety (ADTS)

The Advanced Topics in Safety (ADTS) course will be delivered at the University of York, 25th – 27th April 2023.

ADTS is a module from the MSc in Safety-Critical Systems Engineering programme, and can also be attended as a stand-alone CPD short course.

In this module, we will identify the nature of the safety challenges - technical, engineering and social - posed by Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) and consider their implications for legislation and regulatory guidance for engineering practice.

We will consider the challenges posed to safety engineering techniques and praxis by Robotics and Autonomous Systems in three broad areas:

  • Technical challenges: we will explore the nature of decision-making technologies and will consider the implications for data management, model learning, verification and deploment and understanding of the interaction between AS and the "outside world", including humans.
  • Engineering challenges: including the elicitation and validation of safety requirements, identifying and analysing new classes of hazard and understanding how failures propagate in systems with an autonomous component, implication for incident report and investigation, etc. 
  • Social challenges: including the role and expectations of the human in interactions with RAS, ethical concerns, acceptance and communication of risk and challenges for the law, governance and regulatory regimes in a number of domains. Implications for the safety case, particularly with reference to machine understanding and decision-making, will be considered throughout the module.

By the end of this module, students will be able to:

  • Identify the disruptors - technical, engineering and social - to existing system safety engineering practices generated by RAS;
  • Describe the core elements of RAS systems engineering, sufficient for safety engineering and assurance understanding;
  • Discuss the validation and verification aspects of machine learning;
  • Describe and evaluate the implications for and changes required in safety assessment and assurance practices to accommodate RAS as emerging technologies;
  • Use consistent and clear terminology in communications about RAS engineering and safety;
  • Identify the societal impact of RAS and implications for risk acceptance;
  • Identify the potential impact of RAS on current regulatory requirements and guidance in a variety of safety-critical domains.

There will be three days of face-to-face teaching in York, taking place on Tuesday to Thursday of the teaching week. In addition students will be provided with self-study materials totalling some 10 - 15 hours of study time.

Registration closes: 03/04/2023
Preparatory materials released: 17/04/2023
Teaching week: 24/04/2023

For further information and to book your place please see:


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