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New report outlines the need for cross domain transport safety standards

Dr Siddartha Khastgir presents his report

  • New report outlines the need for a Cross Domain Safety Assurance Framework for Automated Systems to ensure the safe introduction of automated transport systems
  • Adoption of this framework would enable faster and safer national roll-out of the technologies in the UK, projected to be worth £700 billion globally by 2030
  • The findings recommend the need for an industry-government and academia body responsible for safety assurance as well as scenarios available for stakeholders and regulators
  • The report calls for a codified set of rules to define safe and acceptable behaviour for automated transport systems as well as a scalable safety assurance framework

A new report launched by WMG, University of Warwick’s Dr Siddartha Khastgir identifies the need for a Cross Domain Safety Assurance Framework to ensure the safe introduction of automated transport systems across land, air and marine.

The report outlines three key building blocks of research, standards, and regulations required for the safety framework: test scenarios, test environment, and safety evidence and safety argument.

The transport sector is worth over £100 billion to the UK economy, but with over 2,000 deaths and over 120,000 injuries every year. Safety remains a key priority.

Connected and autonomous transport, set to be worth over £700 billion by 2030, not only has the potential to make travel safer but also faster and more efficient, contributing to both national health and carbon emissions goals.

To support the development and adoption of a cross-domain safety assurance framework, the findings of the report recommend the need for a government - industry and academia body responsible for safety assurance of autonomous transport systems. This will enable fertilisation of ideas across land, air and marine as each work to solve the same set of research and engineering questions.

The report identifies the need for a centralised scenario library to draw on to support testing to standards. It also highlights the importance of developing a Virtual Test Environment (VTE) for use by regulators as well as a qualification process for VTE and enhancing the UK’s National Digital Twin Programme to realise this. The findings also call for a codified set of rules to define safe and acceptable behaviour for automated transport systems on land, air and sea as well as a scalable safety assurance framework.

Dr Siddartha Khastgir commented: “If we’re serious about the safe introduction of automated transport systems, we need to focus on setting high standards for safety assurance and ensuring we’re not competing on safety. Collaboration will be key to our success.”

“Taking a cross-domain approach to safety assurance offers various opportunities and benefits to the ecosystem. Firstly, it enables us to learn from the strengths of individual (land, air, and sea) domains. Then, on a more practical note, the associated tools, and procedures in implementing the safety assurance framework such as databases and virtual test environments can be used across all domains, making it cost effective. Finally, and importantly, it helps to avoid triplication by translating learnings and helping foster relationships across these traditionally siloed and independent domains – altogether making research and deployment of autonomous transport systems more efficient.”

Prof Paul Jennings, Research Director at WMG, Sarah Gates, Wayve, Andre Burgess, National Physical Laboratory (NPL), Andrew Macmillan, Vertical Aerospace, Michael Gadd, Blue Bear, Jane Fenn, BAE Systems, Ali Chegini, RSSB, Dr Siddartha Khastgir (WMG)

Andrew McKeran, Business Director, Maritime Performance Services at Lloyd’s Register Group said: “There is a significant opportunity for the UK to be a global leader in maritime autonomy, developing a long term, hi-tech ecosystem.

“From a maritime perspective, we need a robust, reliable and usable global assurance framework for the safe operation of autonomous ships. The result will be confidence in the data, confidence in the decision-making, and confidence in the systems that are needed to exploit the safety and economic benefits that autonomy can bring.”

"We see great opportunity to collaborate with the other sectors, primarily aviation and automotive to learn lessons, mature thinking, and most importantly develop virtual test environment capabilities for maritime technology applications.”

Michael Gadd, Head of Airworthiness, Blue Bear commented: “Aviation has a global perspective and within this sector the UK has considerable innovative capabilities and technologies. These advancements are supported by pioneering safety and regulatory frameworks which continually install the trust and confidence that enables the economic benefits the sector delivers, from leading-edge research and development to the wide range of aircraft operations and everything in between.

“The development of a cross-sector safety assurance framework will empower the wider sharing of experience and best practices and help deliver the tools and techniques that are necessary to build confidence and trust in high authority automation and autonomous systems in a common way irrespective of the end use case.”

“This collaborative approach between sectors will develop key skills and knowledge whilst accelerating the assurance process to deliver demonstrably safe products to market, maximising opportunities for economic growth and also developing experience-based leadership in a globally competitive area.”

To read the full report, please visit:



About WMG, University of Warwick

WMG is a world leading research and education group, transforming organisations and driving innovation through a unique combination of collaborative research and development, and pioneering education programmes.

As an international role model for successful partnerships between academia and the private and public sectors, WMG develops advancements nationally and globally, in applied science, technology and engineering, to deliver real impact to economic growth, society and the environment.

WMG’s education programmes focus on lifelong learning of the brightest talent, from the WMG Academies for Young Engineers, degree apprenticeships, undergraduate and postgraduate, through to professional programmes.

An academic department of the University of Warwick, and a centre for the HVM Catapult, WMG was founded by the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 to help reinvigorate UK manufacturing and improve competitiveness through innovation and skills development.

WMG has been successfully leading and participating in national and international collaborations such as OmniCAV, Midlands Future Mobility, Safety PoolTM Scenario Database as well as working on CCAV and Innovate UK funded Collaborative R&D projects. WMG’s research is helping to influence international standards and regulations with active participation at ISO, ASAM, SAE and UNECE forums.

PHOTO CAPTIONS (hi res available on request):

1. Dr Siddartha KhastgirLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window presents his report

2.L to R: Prof Paul Jennings, Research Director at WMG; Sarah Gates, Wayve; Andre Burgess, National Physical Laboratory; Andrew Macmillan, Vertical Aerospace; Michael Gadd, Blue Bear; Jane Fenn, BAE Systems; Ali Chegini, RSSB; Dr Siddartha Khastgir, WMG.


Sheila Kiggins

Media Relations Manager

University of Warwick

07876 218166