Malvern cyber company D-RisQ helps boost research into Autonomous Systems trust

Photo shows: Nick Tudor, D-RisQ
D-RisQ Nick Tudor

Malvern-based cyber and technology company D-RisQ, which last month secured £360,000 growth investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), has supported three successful applications to the UK Research Institute (UKRI) programme to set up seven Trusted Autonomous Systems Research Nodes.  The UKRI programme will address public concern and potential risks associated with Autonomous Systems by making sure they are both trustworthy by design and trusted by those that use them.

For society to use and benefit from autonomous systems, people need to trust them. This means that the autonomous systems need to be designed and tested to ensure that they work consistently and safely and that they are appropriately developed within a legal, ethical and social context. Trust will only be enabled through technical advances conducted in specific societal circumstances.

D-RisQ has developed commercial technologies that can be used by these Nodes and expects to provide guidance on the exploitation of the research in future commercial applications.

D-RisQ supported the University of Edinburgh which formed a consortium of six universities across the UK and was supported by D-RisQ in their application to UKRI, alongside other companies such as BAE Systems , NASA Ames and the Civil Aviation Authority.  Led by Professor Subramanian Ramamoorthy from the School of Informatics and Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, the team are tasked with developing the governance and regulation of Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS). By developing a novel framework for the certification, assurance and legality of TAS, the project will address whether such systems can be used safely.

D-RisQ also supported the University of York through Professor Ana Cavalcanti in their application to form a TAS Node in Resilience.  This node is led by Dr Radu Calinescu which brings together the disciplines of Computer Science, Engineering, Law, Mathematics, Philosophy and Psychology from five UK Universities, to develop a comprehensive toolbox of principles, methods, and systematic approaches for the engineering of resilient autonomous systems and systems of systems. Professor Cavalcanti’s contribution to this project is related to the definition of usable and formal notations to capture resilience requirements.

Additionally, D-RisQ supported the TAS Node in Verifiability which is led by Professor Mohammad Mousavi at the University of Leicester. This project brings together the disciplines of Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Mathematics, Human-Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence, and Ethics also from five UK Universities, to develop a comprehensive unifying approach with novel rigorous techniques that automate the systematic and holistic verification of autonomous systems.