Roundup of 2020

News | Posted on Saturday 30 January 2021

Ahead of the launch of our Year in Review 2020, we’ve taken a look back at a somewhat unexpected year and some of the key activities and achievements along the way.


In early 2020 we launched our online Body of Knowledge, offering free practical guidance to support the assurance and regulation of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS). As the year progressed we added more guidance from Fellows, demonstrator projects and the York team, and we will continue to add more and more guidance as the research progresses.

Access the free Body of Knowledge

The team in York continued to grow in 2020. We strengthened our work in the ethics and governance of autonomous systems, expanded our technical expertise, and enhanced our industrial experience through the recruitment of new research associates and engineers.

Meet the AAIP team

We increased our funding of real-world research by commissioning an additional £1.2M of demonstrator projects. These projects span a variety of sectors and are all working with regulatory bodies to move their work from safety processes towards the introduction of standards and regulations.

Find out more about our demonstrator projects

The UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) programme awarded over £3M to a project led by Dr Radu Calinescu to establish and lead the TAS Node in Resilience. The project, which brings together expertise from five universities, aims to improve the ability of autonomous systems to reason about the impact of their decisions and actions on technical and social requirements and rules.

Find out more about the TAS Node in Resilience


Working with Fellow Professor Simon Burton and AAIP’s Dr Richard Hawkins we published a free introductory guide to assuring the safety of highly automated driving (HAD), with a focus on the assurance of the safety of the intended functionality.

Download the safety of HAD report

We published the workshop report from a workshop with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. The workshop considered whether autonomous vehicles should detect and make decisions based on characteristics protected by anti-discrimination legislation as a way to ensure safe outcomes. 

Read the workshop report

Professor John McDermid published an article in The Conversation, Autonomous cars: five reasons they still aren’t on our roads, which was read by more than 30,000 people.

Read The Conversation article here


In April 2020 we had a paper by Dr Ibrahim Habli, Dr Tom Lawton MBE and Zoe Porter published in the WHO Bulletin. The paper looked at moral accountability and safety assurance for AI in healthcare

Read the WHO Bulletin paper

A paper by Dr Ibrahim Habli, Dr Rob Alexander, Dr Richard Hawkins, Dr Mark Sujan, Professor John McDermid, Dr Chiara Picardi and Dr Tom Lawton MBE examined the modelling assumptions that informed COVID-19 policy-making processes and how to improve transparency and accountability

Read the COVID-19 paper


Look out for A Review of 2020, with a full look back at 2020, to be published in February.