AAIP press release: A year in review 2018

News | Posted on Monday 8 April 2019

Find out more about what we accomplished in 2018 and where we're heading now: read our 2018 annual review.

2018 was a high point of the current technological revolution. A driverless car was part of the procession at London’s Lord Mayor’s Show, the UK harvested its first hands-free hectare, and AI was used to detect serious eye conditions.

We are starting to be able to visualise just what promise robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) hold.

The Assuring Autonomy International Programme is ensuring that this innovation continues and grows. Our work is helping the safety community, regulators, technology developers and others to understand, achieve and assure the safety of critical autonomous systems.

Our first year has been about building strong foundations: a team of experts at York; real-world demonstrator projects underway across the globe; basic research tackling the underlying challenges; and creating a structure for the Body of Knowledge. We have also been supporting an international community to work together; undertaking an in-depth needs analysis to understand what training
and education
is required; and opening the dialogue with the public so that we can start to understand their questions, reservations and enthusiasm.

We’ve learnt a lot too. The focus of the Programme on assurance and regulation is exactly right – but the challenges are even
greater than we anticipated. Although there are some very impressive new commercial prototypes, it has become clear that the
step from successful demo to “prime time” is very significant. Some systems developers understand this well but there are many
who are over-optimistic, thus there is a real need for our training and education programme to span from senior decision makers to the engineers designing and assessing these systems.

Our initial work and interaction with the demonstrators has given us a better understanding of the research landscape, and this will influence our future plans, including calls for new demonstrators. 

As we move through 2019 the Programme and its work continue to grow, just as the challenge itself increases with further developments in technology.

We will welcome more specialists to the team, fund additional demonstrator projects, present research papers, and host and attend workshops and conferences to talk with others about how best to address the global challenges of assuring RAS. The Body of Knowledge will be tested and brought to life with the first outputs from the research we are supporting, and we will launch our education and training programme.

We invite you to be a part of this future: collaboration is the key.


John McDermid
Programme Director

Read the full annual review online