Formal Specification and Verification of Autonomous Robotic Systems: A Survey

by   Matt Luckcuck, et al.

Robotic systems are complex and critical: they are inherently hybrid, combining both hardware and software; they typically exhibit both cyber-physical attributes and autonomous capabilities; and are required to be at least safe and often ethical. While for many engineered systems testing, either through real deployment or via simulation, is deemed sufficient the uniquely challenging elements of robotic systems, together with the crucial dependence on sophisticated software control and decision-making, requires a stronger form of verification. The increasing deployment of robotic systems in safety-critical scenarios exacerbates this still further and leads us towards the use of formal methods to ensure the correctness of, and provide sufficient evidence for the certification of, robotic systems. There have been many approaches that have used some variety of formal specification or formal verification in autonomous robotics, but there is no resource that collates this activity in to one place. This paper systematically surveys the state-of-the art in specification formalisms and tools for verifying robotic systems. Specifically, it describes the challenges arising from autonomy and software architectures, avoiding low-level hardware control and is subsequently identifies approaches for the specification and verification of robotic systems, while avoiding more general approaches.


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