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Risk Structures: A Design Algebra for Risk-Aware Machines

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Publication details

JournalFormal Aspects of Computing
DateAccepted/In press - 11 Mar 2021
Original languageEnglish


Machines, such as mobile robots and delivery drones, incorporate controllers responsible for a task while handling risk (e.g. anticipating and mitigating hazards; and preventing and alleviating accidents). We refer to machines with this capability as risk-aware machines. Risk awareness includes robustness and resilience, and complicates monitoring (i.e., introspection, sensing, prediction), decision making, and control. From an engineering perspective, risk awareness adds a range of dependability requirements to system assurance. Such assurance mandates a correct-by-construction approach to controller design, based on mathematical theory. We introduce RiskStructures, an algebraic framework for risk modelling intended to support the design of safety controllers for risk-aware machines. Using the concept of a risk factor as a modelling primitive, this framework provides facilities to construct, examine, and assure these controllers. We prove desirable algebraic properties of these facilities, and demonstrate their applicability by using them to specify key aspects of safety controllers for risk-aware automated driving and collaborative robots.

    Research areas

  • Correct construction, Formal development, Risk awareness, Run-time mitigation, Safety controllers, Robots and autonomous systems

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