Enabling the benefits of component based design of autonomous machines by assuring their safety when they work together as a system of systems.

Overview

A cooperating system of systems offers cost effectiveness, quicker market innovations and faster time to market. However they bring many challenges in assuring safety, and through lack of adequate standards and legislation with respect to ownership and liabilities.

This project is exploring these challenges in an ongoing futuristic project at Volvo Construction Equipment with the aim to demonstrate safety assurance of Cooperating Construction Equipment in a Semi-automated quarry Site (SUCCESS). Specifically, the project is investigating and adapting hazard analysis techniques suitable for robotics and autonomous systems (RAS), modelling safety assurance using contract formalisms and extensions, and demonstrating assurance cases (including dynamic aspects) and their confidence estimations. It is also identifying potential themes for safety certification of RAS.

Project progress

The set-up of the "electric site" has had to consider:

  • development of new machines
  • adding extra functionality to existing machines
  • defining new process flows
  • design of control centre
  • production optimisation

The project team have been discussing with stakeholders regarding the current state of development, future plans, as well as on the exploration and elicitation of requirements (especially safety concerns and requirements).

The team have been identifying the foreseen workflow at the quarry site, where the fleet of autonomous machines has to operate: understanding the environment of a quarry site, as well as today’s production with human-operated machines, is important to take into consideration for the project’s future work.

The team has established a number of application contexts at the electric site and discussed possible interesting scenarios from the angle of collaboration/cooperation between machines that could potentially have some undesirable consequences if not properly managed.

Work on two particular strands of work (system of system hazard analysis and remote takeover of machines) has also been progressing. The team has made detailed analyses both at a global system of systems-level and on a specific scenario of remote takeover of machines. Several insights have been gained from these analyses and two research papers have been published.

The current focus for the team is on the development of detailed simulations. The Volvo training simulators at Mälardalen University are being adapted and extended to support validation and to demonstrate safety assurance. Extraction of the requirements for various safety-critical scenarios is being done for implementation and validation using the simulators. New assets, interfaces and scenarios in the simulation context are under development to enable validation and safety assurance using simulation studies.

The ongoing works include:

  • enforcing geofences for dynamic risk management
  • safety assurance in platooning scenarios of automated haulers
  • connecting process, product and assurance case metamodels for efficient management upon the evolution of systems

Project team