Safety analysis of autonomous excavator functionality

D Seward, C Pace, R Morrey, I Sommerville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an account of carrying out a hazard analysis to define the safety requirements for an autonomous robotic excavator. The work is also relevant to the growing generic class of heavy automated mobile machinery. An overview of the excavator design is provided and the concept of a safety manager is introduced. The safety manager is an autonomous module responsible for all aspects of system operational safety, and is central to the control system's architecture. Each stage of the hazard analysis is described, i.e. system model creation, hazard definition and hazard analysis. Analysis at an early stage of the design process, and on a system that interfaces directly to an unstructured environment, exposes certain issues relevant to the application of current hazard analysis methods. The approach taken in the analysis is described. Finally, it is explained how the results of the hazard analysis have influenced system design, in particular, safety manager specifications. Conclusions are then drawn about the applicability of hazard analysis of requirements in general, and suggestions are made as to how the approach can be taken further (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalReliability Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2000


  • excavator
  • mobile machinery
  • hazard analysis
  • safety manager


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