Assuring Operations of Autonomous Systems

Ron Birk, Elizabeth Horton, Dr. Thomas Kashangaki, Zigmond Leszczynski, Dr. Jon Neff, Dr. Nick Perlongo, Dr. Torrey Radcliffe, Dr. Chris Tschan, Dr. Josh Train
The Aerospace Corporation

U.S. aerospace agencies and companies employ complex systems-of-systems comprised of hardware, software, networks, and human-machine interfaces, with an increasing use of intelligent agents, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. These systems are evolving as “intelligent ecosystems” to operate autonomously, including the capacity to routinely upgrade themselves without human intervention. Assuring mission success requires system performance assessment fast enough to identify anomalies and take remedial actions to assure sustained and reliable operations. This paper informs decisionmakers on the urgency of establishing governance policies for verification and validation of system state-of-health needed to assure safe operations of autonomous aerospace systems affecting lives and property.