Autonomous systems are becoming more commonly used, especially in hazardous situations. Such systems are expected to make their own decisions about future actions when some capabilities degrade due to failures of their subsystems. Such decisions are made without human input, therefore they need to be well-informed in a short time when the situation is analysed and future consequences of the failure are estimated. The future planning of the mission should take account of the likelihood of mission failure. The reliability analysis for autonomous systems can be performed using the methodologies developed for phased mission analysis, where the causes of failure for each phase in the mission can be expressed by fault trees.
Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles (UAVs) are of a particular interest in the aeronautical industry, where it is a long term ambition to operate them routinely in civil airspace. Safety is the main requirement for the UAV operation and the calculation of failure probability of each phase and the overall mission is the topic of this paper. When components or sub-systems fail or environmental conditions throughout the mission change, these changes can affect the future mission. The new proposed methodology takes into account the available diagnostics data and is used to predict future capabilities of the UAV in real-time. Since this methodology is based on the efficient BDD method, the quickly provided advice can be used in making decisions. When failures occur appropriate actions are required in order to preserve safety of the autonomous vehicle. The overall decision making strategy for autonomous vehicles is explained in this paper. Some limitations of the methodology are discussed and further improvements are presented based on experimental results.
Remenyte-Prescott, R., Andrews, J., & Chung, P. (2010). An efficient phased mission reliability analysis for autonomous vehicles. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 95(3), doi:10.1016/j.ress.2009.10.002