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Safer Autonomous Systems

Project description

Updating safety and dependability engineering in the context of increasingly autonomous systems

The world is rapidly evolving towards greater automation in almost every field. Most existing safety standards were developed assuming a human can take over when needed, and not for autonomous systems that act without human intervention. Further, current approaches assume that the system will not learn and use past experience to make decisions once deployed. Machine learning is enabling such autonomous decision-making, yet this adds uncertainty as to how the system will react. With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the SAS project will develop innovative approaches to system safety and dependability engineering including legal and ethical aspects. Outcomes will enhance safety and bolster support of autonomous systems.


Autonomous systems offer humankind tremendous opportunities, like freeing us from mundane tasks, carrying out risky procedures and generally giving us more time to enjoy the things we like doing. However, we lack trust in many forms of autonomous systems: partly this is human nature, but primarily because these systems, such as self-driving cars, have not demonstrated their safety credentials. Only by making these systems safer can we expect their widespread acceptance. The Safer Autonomous Systems (SAS) ETN is about getting people to trust these systems by making the systems safer. In order to achieve this objective and to train a group of highly skilled, responsible, future innovators, we will bring together 15 early-stage researchers (ESRs) to investigate new forms of system-safety engineering, dependability engineering, fault-tolerant and failsafe hardware/software design, model-based safety analysis, safety-assurance case development, cyber-security, as well as legal and ethical aspects. SAS will actively research the development of safer autonomous systems at multi-nationals like Bosch, but it also wants to stimulate the development of new safety designs, modelling and assurance techniques by involving the ESRs in SMEs and, potentially, their own start-ups. To help the ESRs put what they have learned during their research and S/T training into practise in their future careers, they will also receive soft-skills training to help them communicate effectively at all levels and become sought-after recruits. SAS is closely aligned with the high-priority areas of the EU, addressing many Horizon 2020 thematics, e.g. Industrial Leadership (Advanced manufacturing and processing), Societal Challenges (Smart, green and integrated transport; Secure, clean and efficient energy) and Excellent Science. But the most important output of SAS will be 15 well qualified people who have been trained to tackle many of the problems now being faced by European industry.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 025 280,00
Oude markt 13
3000 Leuven

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Vlaams Gewest Prov. Vlaams-Brabant Arr. Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (6)

Partners (10)