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Liability for Software in Safety-Critical Mechatronic Systems: An Industrial Questionnaire


Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


2nd International Workshop on Software Engineering for Embedded Systems




There is very little research on how industry is dealing with the risk of legal liability when constructing safety- critical mechatronic systems that are also software intensive. In this paper we propose a case study approach with the goal to understand how liability concerns in this setting impact software development in industry. The approach takes into account that software development is embedded into a complex socio-technical context involving stakeholders from technical, managerial and legal backgrounds. We present first results of our case study from a questionnaire involving six companies that develop software- intensive, safety-critical systems in the vehicular and avionics domains. The results of the questionnaire shed light on current industrial practices and concerns. The results indicate that liability seems indeed a concern and that a more in-depth analysis of this topic would be desirable to better understand the strategies that are used by industry to address liability risks.


author = {Holger Kienle and Daniel Sundmark and Kristina Lundqvist and Andreas Johnsen},
title = {Liability for Software in Safety-Critical Mechatronic Systems: An Industrial Questionnaire},
month = {June},
year = {2012},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Software Engineering for Embedded Systems},
publisher = {IEEE},
url = {}