A year in review 2020: a look back at an unexpected year

News | Posted on Tuesday 2 February 2021

Our 2020 annual review considers an unusual year, but one in which we have accomplished much of what we planned and achieved additional successes along the way.

Read the 2020 annual review

2020 saw our team in York expand again. We have 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.

We have 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.

We continue to further our standing as the leading centre of excellence for the safety assurance of robotics and autonomous systems. The new facility that will house the Institute for Safe Autonomy is taking shape on the University’s Campus East and will bring together our work with complementary University expertise including robotics, advanced communications and quantum technologies, and enable greater industry and regulator involvement.

An award of more than £3M from the UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) programme, has enabled us to establish and lead the TAS Node in Resilience. This node brings together multidisciplinary capabilities from five UK universities to improve the ability of autonomous systems to reason about the impact of their decisions and actions on technical and social requirements and rules.

This year has clearly demonstrated just how much we will all benefit from the introduction and adoption of autonomous systems, and the work we’re doing to ensure this is done safely is more important now than ever before.

We are proud of what we have achieved and look forward to continuing global, multidisciplinary collaborations in 2021 to ensure safe autonomous systems are a reality for us all.

Professor John McDermid OBE FREng
Programme Director