About the network

The Verification and Validation of Autonomous Systems Network aims to stimulate, co-ordinate, promote, and disseminate research on the verification and validation of autonomous systems.

Within this we will:

  • highlight case studies, develop challenges, and provide a roadmap for future research in this area, and
  • provide a route through which these research developments can be promoted to industry, academia, government, and the public.

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What is an autonomous system?

By autonomy we mean the ability of a system to make its own decisions about what to do and when to do it.  

Systems are increasingly being used in areas where humans cannot or choose not to control them directly – greater autonomy is crucial in these scenarios.

Decisions must be made based on the system’s view of its own capabilities, the current situation, the other entities involved, and its external environment.

What are Verification and Validation?

The aim of verification is to ensure that a system matches its requirements.  

Formal verification employs a comprehensive mathematical analysis of the system to prove whether it matches to its formal requirements.

Validation is the process of confirming that the final system has the intended behaviour once it is active in its target environment, and is often concerned with satisfying external stakeholders.

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Why is this Important?

Once the decision-making process is taken away from humans, can we be sure what autonomous systems will do?  Will they be safe? Can we trust them?  

Without these, autonomy will not be accepted by engineers, allowed by regulators, or trusted by the public.

This is especially the case as robots, autonomous vehicles, etc., are increasingly being deployed in safety-critical situations.