Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Institute for Safe Autonomy

Institute for Safe Autonomy

Reducing risk - inspiring innovation

We work across academic disciplines, and with partners from industry, policy and society, to safely explore how Robotics and Connected Autonomous Systems can benefit people and the planet.

From driverless cars and remotely monitored ships, to robotic arms and virtual assistants – new technologies which can learn and solve problems independently are transforming the way we live, travel and work. At the Institute for Safe Autonomy (ISA) our mission is to ensure that these systems, their software, and their communications are safe.

"Within our purpose-built living lab we are establishing an ecosystem of interdisciplinary collaboration. ISA is home to over 100 independent experts from disciplines including Physics, Engineering, Quantum Communications, Politics and Law, who are working across sectors to ensure that a safety-critical approach is taken to the design, development and deployment of autonomous systems."

Professor Miles Elsden, Director of the Institute for Safe Autonomy.

Research pillars

Design and verification

We are creating and testing safety-centred software and hardware.


We are overcoming barriers to regulating and assuring the safety of autonomous systems.


We are developing resilient and secure communication mechanisms.

Society and Ethics

We are examining whether these new technologies are beneficial, fair and trustworthy.

Colleagues in the Institute for Safe Autonomy discussing partnership work

Partner with us

Our independent safety experts are proud to work with partners from industry, government and civil society. ISA was built to facilitate ground-breaking collaborative research that crosses traditional academic boundaries and sectors. Our current projects span transport, healthcare, green energy, agriculture, manufacturing, hazardous environments (underwater, space, etc.) and more. 

Our experimental laboratories, test spaces and on-site technicians  can provide support at any stage of the product life cycle or system development; from initial design through to real-world deployment. 

To find out more about how we can help you, or arrange a tour of our £15m purpose-built facilities, contact us.

See our contacts page

Funders and collaborators

ISA was established through joint funding from Research England (via the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund), the Lloyd's Register Foundation and the University of York. 

ISA is a member of York Unlimited, the University of York’s campaign to inspire innovation and explore new technologies that could help society and tackle global challenges.