Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

Challenges and Solutions for Autonomous Systems Safety – Findings from Three International Workshops (IWASS)

Ingrid Bouwer Utne1, Christoph Alexander Thieme2, Marilia Ramos3,a and Ali Mosleh3,b

1Department of Marine Technology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.

2Department of Software Engineering, Safety, and Security, SINTEF Digital, Trondheim, Norway.

3B. John Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA.


Autonomous systems intend to be a stepping-stone towards safer and more efficient operations. Extensive mapping and monitoring of land, space, and the oceans, renewable energy harvesting and production, inspection of physical structures difficult to access, operation of subsea systems, land-based, maritime, and air transportation are emerging areas for high autonomy. Still, the corresponding advancements in software, hardware, and interactions with humans and the environment involve complexities that pose major challenges concerning safety, reliability, and security (SRS). Society is hesitating to allow for widespread use of highly autonomous cars or ships. The industrial use of autonomous systems depends on effective and transparent standards for safety, verification, and certification, for which it is essential to develop credible methodologies for assessing risk, acceptance criteria, testing and verification. Hence, risk management must become an important driver in the early design process and during operation. Autonomous systems must have sufficient integrity, be capable of determining if it can continue operating with degraded performance, and cooperate with human operators. Since 2019, the International Workshop on Autonomous Systems Safety (IWASS) has been bringing together multidisciplinary experts from academia, industry, and authorities to discuss the SRS challenges and potential solutions. This paper aims to provide an overview of the discussions and results from the three editions of IWASS and discuss potential ways to enhance SRS in future developments and implementations of autonomous systems.

Keywords: Autonomous systems, Safety, Reliability, Security, IWASS, Autonomy.

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