Introducing Autonomous Systems into Operation: How the SMS has to Change

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


When an autonomous system is deployed into a specific environment there may be new safety risks introduced. These could include risks due to staff interacting with the new system in unsafe ways (e.g. getting too close), risks to infrastructure (e.g. collisions with maintenance equipment), and also risks to the environment (e.g. due to increased traffic flows). Hence changes must be made to the local Safety Management System (SMS) governing how the system is deployed, oper-ated, maintained and disposed of within its operating context. This includes how the operators, maintainers, emergency services and accident investigators have to work to new practices and develop new skills. They may also require new ap-proaches, tools and techniques to do their jobs. It is also noted that many auton-omous systems (for example aerial drones or self-driving shuttles) may come with a generic product-based safety justification, comprising a safety case and opera-tional information (e.g. manuals) that may need tailoring or adapting to each de-ployment environment. This adaptation may be done, in part, via the SMS. This paper focusses on these deployment and adaptation issues, highlighting changes to working processes and practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Future of Safe Systems
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 31st Safety Critical Systems Symposium, 2023
EditorsMike Parsons
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherSafety Critical Systems Club
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9798363385520
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

© John McDermid and Mike Parsons 2023

Cite this