Seminar: Safety of Autonomy in Complex Environments

  Event description   Programme    


Safety of Autonomy in Complex Environments

Thursday 20 April, 2023 - Great Cumberland Place Hotel, 20 Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7DL

This 1-day in-person and online seminar will consider the safe use of autonomy in complex environments (for example a self-driving vehicle in a city environment or an autonomous vessel in a busy shipping lane), featuring speakers covering different sectors. It will include:

1) An overview of the work from the AAIP at the University of York on SACE

2) Outputs from the SCSC Safety of Autonomous Systems Working Group

3) Work undertaken by Roger Rivett in the Automotive domain

4) An overview of the issues and approaches in the Maritime sector from Bernard Twomey

5) Work in autonomous heavy industrial machinery for e.g. ports, mining and forestry

Speakers include:

Eetu Heikkilä, VTT - "Safety of autonomous non-road mobile machinery"

Abstract: Increasing level of autonomy is a major trend in non-road mobile machinery (NRMM), i.e., heavy equipment used in very diverse applications ranging from mines to container terminals. Traditionally, safety of automation has been ensured by segregating the machinery from people, but to increase productivity, the automated operations need to become more flexible. This introduces new mixed-traffic situations that increase complexity and bring challenges to safety assurance. This talk describes the main driving forces for autonomy in the NRMM sector, new safety and security-related opportunities and risks related to the development, and different safety strategies that can be applied in development of safe autonomy.

Bio: Eetu works as Research Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. His work focuses on safety and reliability of highly automated and autonomous systems in a wide variety of application areas, including mobile machinery, transportation, maritime systems, and drones. He holds an M.Sc. (Tech.) degree in mechanical engineering from Aalto University, Espoo, Finland.

Richard Hawkins, AAIP - "Safety Cases for Autonomous Systems in Complex Environments"

Abstract: Demonstrating sufficient safety is challenging for all systems, but is even more so for autonomous systems (AS). Autonomy increases uncertainty in the safe operation of autonomous systems, particularly when operating  in complex, dynamic and open environments; the pace of technological change in AS also tends to be greatly increased; in addition there is little established best practice to guide safety assurance activities. In this talk I will discuss how safety cases provide a means to address these uncertainties and provide confidence in the safety of an AS by providing explicit safety arguments supported by evidence. I will discuss guidance we have developed at the University of York on the assurance activities to be undertaken and the evidence required to be generated to create a compelling safety case for an AS.

Bio: Richard Hawkins is Senior Research Fellow for the Lloyd's Register Foundation's Assuring Autonomy International Programme at the University of York.  His research is focussed on safety assurance and assurance cases for autonomous systems. He has been working with safety related systems for 20 years both in academia and in industry. Richard has been a lecturer in safety critical systems engineering at the University of York and has worked for BAE Systems as a software safety engineer.

Roger Rivett, Consultant and AAIP - "Safer Autonomous Road Vehicles - The Bigger Picture"

Abstract: This talk advocates formalising the bigger picture before trying to reason about safety when dealing with Autonomy in Complex Environments. It will describe work performed under the auspices of the University of York AAIP and MISRA to produce high level ontologies and claim structures for autonomous road vehicles.

Bio: Roger Rivett worked in the automotive industry for 37 years on real-time embedded-systems. He retired from his role as Functional Safety Technical Specialist in Jaguar Land Rover in January 2019. He was a founder member of MISRA and was its chair for 15 years. He was a member of ISO-TC22-SC32-WG8 from 2005 until 2018. He is a Program Fellow on the University of York Assuring Autonomy International Programme (AAIP) and a member of the MISRA Automotive Safety Argument working group. He also the chair of the SCSC steering group and a member of its working groups for the Safety of Autonomous Systems and the creation of a Risk Ontology. He is a Chartered Engineer, and a Fellow of the IET. He has an MSc in Software Engineering from Oxford University and an Engineering Doctorate from York University.

Philippa Ryan, Research Fellow (AAIP and AR-TAS) and SCSC SASWG - "Outputs from SASWG - present guidance and future directions"

Abstract: Assurance of Autonomous Systems (AS) remains a complex and challenging task, particularly when Machine Learning (ML) is used as part of that system. In this talk I will give an overview of the SASWG guidance for assuring ML algorithms in its current form, and also discuss some future challenges and interdisciplinary work in assurance of AS work at the University of York. 

Bio: Dr Philippa Ryan MBCS CEng is a Research Fellow in Assured Responsibility for AI and Autonomous Systems at the University of York, and chair of the Safety of Autonomous Systems Working Group (SASWG) for the SCSC. She has 8 years of industrial experience in software safety assuring, including writing and reviewing safety cases for the defence, avionics, nuclear and medical domains. She also has many years experience as an academic researcher in the High Integrity Systems Engineering group at York. Her PhD examined failure assurance of Integrated Modular Avionics software.

Bernard Twomey - "Maritime Autonomy a Vision or Reality?"

Abstract: Using autonomy within the maritime sector claims to reduce human error, enhance safety, improve efficiency with optimized ship design, and reduce operating costs - but there is little supporting evidence. There is currently no criterion that defines the ‘required level of safety’ within the International Maritime organisation (IMO) instruments. A Marine Autonomous Surface Ship (MASS) Code is being developed by the IMO, but we are likely to rely on national solutions for some time yet. This talk will explore where the maritime sector is heading, the technical & legal challenges that need to be addressed and a proposed lifecycle and safety process models that can help to support a compelling assurance case for the Maritime Autonomous Infrastructure. 

Bio: Bernard spent 12 years in the Merchant Navy before attending Loughborough University to study  Electro-mechanical Power Engineering. In 1993 he joined Lloyd’s Register, and was the Global Head of Electrotechnical Systems. In 2017 Bernard joined Rolls-Royce Marine and was responsible for the Regulatory Development activities surrounding the Maritime Autonomous Infrastructure. He now works for Kongsberg Maritime in the same role. He is an active member of research and Special Interest groups and sits on the Technical Committees and advisory boards of two Classification Societies. He is a Member of BSI/ISO and is an Advisor to the Danish Maritime Association at the IMO. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of International Shipping and Trade Law, Swansea University. and is studying for a PhD at the University of York.

This event will be held online and in-person at 20 Great Cumberland Place, London, W1H 7DL (beneath the Hard Rock Cafe).

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