Autonomous systems have become increasingly
integrated into all aspects of every person’s daily life
Autonomous delivery products are changing
the future for consumers
Autonomy’s impact on transportation will be
Catalyzing Engineering Innovations
to Improve Healthcare
Autonomy’s impact on transportation
will be transformational

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Upcoming Events

IAA Seminar Series – Daniel Jackson (MIT) “Certified Control For Autonomous Driving”
May 20 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Link to Seminar

Daniel Jackson seminar poster

Abstract  Autonomous driving needs machine learning, because it relies so heavily on perception. But machine learning is notoriously unpredictable and unverifiable. How then can an autonomous car ever be convincingly safe? Dr. Jackson and his research team have been exploring the classic idea of a runtime monitor: a small trusted base that executes in parallel and intervenes to prevent violations of safety.

Unfortunately, in this context, the traditional runtime monitor is not very plausible. If it processes sensor data itself, it is likely either to be no less complex than the main system, or to be too crude to allow early intervention. And if it does not process sensor data, and instead relies on the main system for that, the key benefit of a small trusted base is lost.

The research team has been pursuing a new approach in which the main controller constructs a “certificate” that embodies a run-time safety case. The monitor is only responsible for checking the certificate, which gives the desired reduction in complexity, exploiting the typical gap between the cost of finding solutions to computational problems and the cost of checking them.

Dr. Jackson will illustrate this idea with some examples his team has implemented in simulation, with the disclaimer that this research is in the early stages. His hope is to provoke an interesting discussion.

Bio Daniel Jackson is a Professor of Computer Science at MIT, a MacVicar teaching fellow, and an Associate Director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His research has focused primarily on software modeling and design. Jackson is also a photographer; his most recent projects are Portraits of Resilience (, and At a Distance ( His book about software design, The Essence of Software: Why Concepts Matter for Great Design, will be published this fall by Princeton University Press.

IAA Seminar Series – Elham Tabassi (NIST)
Jun 15 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

IAA Seminar Series – Elham Tabassi
Details to be announced

IAA Seminar Series – Laura Freeman (VaTech)
Jul 20 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

IAA Seminar Series – Laura Freeman
Details to be announced

IAA Seminar Series – Hava Siegelmann (UMass)
Aug 17 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

IAA Seminar Series – Hava Siegelmann
Details to be announced

How Do We Create an Assured Autonomous Future?

Autonomous systems have become increasingly integrated into all aspects of every person’s daily life. In response, the Johns Hopkins Institute for Assured Autonomy (IAA) focuses on ensuring that those systems are safe, secure, and reliable, and that they do what they are designed to do.

Pillars of the IAA


Autonomous technologies perform tasks with a high degree of autonomy and often employ artificial intelligence (AI) to simulate human cognition, intelligence, and creativity. Because these systems are critical to our safety, health, and well-being as well as to the fabric of our system of commerce, new research and engineering methodologies are needed to ensure they behave in safe, reasonable, and acceptable ways…


Autonomous systems must integrate well with individuals and with society at large. Such systems often integrate into—and form collectively into—an autonomous ecosystem. That ecosystem—the connections and interactions between autonomous systems, over networks, with the physical environment, and with humans—must be assured, resilient, productive, and fair in the autonomous future…

Policy and Governance

The nation must adopt the right policy to ensure autonomous systems benefit society. Just as the design of technology has dramatic impacts on society, the development and implementation of policy can also result in intended and unintended consequences. Furthermore, the right governance structures are critical to enforce sound policy and to guide the impact of technology…

  • In recent years, we have learned that the most important element about autonomous systems is – for humans – trust. Trust that the autonomous systems will behave predictably, reliably, and effectively. That sort of trust is hard-won and takes time, but the centrality of this challenge to the future of humanity in a highly autonomous world motivates us all.
    Ralph Semmel, Director, Applied Physics Laboratory
  • In the not too distant future we will see more and more autonomous systems operating with humans, for humans, and without humans, taking on tasks that were once thought of as the exclusive domains of humans. How can we as individuals and as a society be assured that these systems are design for resilience against degradation or malicious attack? The  mission of the Institute is to bring assurance to people so that as our world is populated by autonomous systems they are operating safely, ethically, and in the best interests of humans.
    Ed Schlesinger Benjamin T. Rome Dean, Whiting School of Engineering