Safe Autonomy: Learning, Verification, and Trusted Operation of Autonomous Systems

December 7-8, 2020
9 am to 2 pm PT (Noon to 5 pm ET) Daily
Attend: Zoom Meeting (You may need to authenticate through your institution’s Zoom account before joining)
Watch: YouTube Channel (From our YouTube Channel select the “Live Now” stream)

Advances in machine learning have accelerated the introduction of autonomy in our everyday lives. However, ensuring that these autonomous systems act as intended is an immense challenge. Today, when self-driving vehicles or collaborative robots operate in real-world uncertain environments, it is impossible to guarantee safety at all times. A key challenge stems from the uncertainty of the environment itself, and the inability to predict all possible situations and interactions that could confront the system. Machine learning, and its potential ability to generalize, may provide a solution. For example, a learning-based perception system for a self-driving vehicle must be able to generalize beyond the scenes that it has observed in training. Similarly, learned dynamical driving policies must successfully execute agile safety maneuvers in previously unexperienced scenarios. And yet today, these learning algorithms are producing solutions that are not easy to understand and may be brittle to faults and possible cyber-attacks. In addition, machine learning-based autonomy is largely being designed in isolation from the people who would use it, rather than being built from the ground up for interaction and collaboration.

In this workshop, we explore the scope of safe autonomy, present and identify the challenges, and to explore current research developments which help us move towards a solution. It includes talks from researchers and practitioners in academia, industry, and government from diverse areas such as control and robotics, AI and machine learning, formal methods, and human-robot interaction, and their applications to the domains of ground, air, and space vehicles as well as medical robotics.


Geir Dullerud (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Claire Tomlin (University of California, Berkeley)


Pieter Abbeel (University of California, Berkeley), Lars Blackmore (SpaceX), JP Clarke (Georgia Institute of Technology), Anca Dragan (University of California, Berkeley), Hadas Kress-Gazit (Cornell University), Sayan Mitra (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Sandeep Neema (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), George Pappas (University of Pennsylvania), Daniela Rus (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Dawn Tilbury (National Science Foundation, University of Michigan), Jur van den Berg (Ike), Keenan Wyrobek (Zipline)


(All times are Pacific Time)

Day 1
9 am – 9:30 am: Daniela Rus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
9:30 am – 10 am: Hadas Kress-Gazit, Cornell University
10 am – 10:15 am: Break
10:15 am – 10:45 am: Lars Blackmore, SpaceX
10:45 am – 11:15 am: JP Clarke, University of Texas at Austin
11:15 am – 11:30 am: Break
11:30 am – 12 pm: Dawn Tilbury (National Science Foundation, University of Michigan)
12 pm – 12:30 pm: Sandeep Neema, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
12:30 pm – 12:45 pm: Break
12:45 pm – 2 pm: Panel

Day 2
9 am – 9:30 am: Pieter Abbeel, University of California, Berkeley
9:30 am – 10 am: Sayan Mitra, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
10 am – 10:15 am: Break
10:15 am – 10:45 am: Anca Dragan, University of California, Berkeley
10:45 am – 11:15 am: George Pappas, University of Pennsylvania
11:15 am – 11:30 am: Break
11:30 am – 12 pm: Jur van den Berg, Ike
12 pm – 12:30 pm: Keenan Wyrobek, Zipline
12:30 pm – 12:45 pm: Break
12:45 pm – 2 pm: Panel