Six new research projects have been launched to tackle challenges to the development of autonomous systems.
The projects, called nodes, are part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) programme, and will undertake fundamental, creative and multidisciplinary research in various areas key to ensure autonomous systems can be built in a way society can trust and use.
Autonomous systems are technologies, ranging from software algorithms to robots, which can make independent decisions with varying levels of human control and learn and change their behaviour.
These systems are already starting to be deployed and have huge potential to be transformative across both society and industrial sectors from health to transport, and from communications to manufacturing.
In order for society to use and benefit from autonomous systems people need to trust them. This means that the autonomous systems need to function as expected for their purpose, and they need to be designed and tested to ensure that their functioning is reliable, and appropriate within a legal, ethical, and social context.
To address these challenges UKRI is investing £33 million in the Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) programme. The programme is funded through the Strategic Priorities Fund and delivered by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
The TAS programme aims to establish a UK focal point for active engagement with the autonomous systems agenda, facilitating conversations across academia, government, regulators, businesses and the public.
The programme will build a coordinated multidisciplinary UK research and innovation community around the theme of trustworthy autonomous systems and will undertake world-leading fundamental research into the technical, social and ethical challenges that surround trustworthy autonomous systems.
Big Ideas initiative
The TAS programme originated through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC) Big Ideas initiative.
The following nodes have been funded:
- UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Node in Functionality, led by Dr Shane Windsor at the University of Bristol
- UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Node in Governance & Regulation, led by Professor Subramanian Ramamoorthy at the University of Edinburgh
- UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Node in Resilience, led by Dr Radu Calisnescu at the University of York
- UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Node in Trust, led by Professor Helen Hastie at Heriot-Watt University
- UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Node in Verifiability, led by Professor Mohammed Reza Mousavi at the University of Leicester
- UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems Node in Security, led by Professor Neeraj Suri at Lancaster University