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Experiences from Applying an Ontology in Hazard Analysis of Autonomous System of Systems.

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


Aerospace Technology Congress 2019


In this paper we will apply a Hazard Ontology (HO) to perform a hazard analysis of an autonomous System of Systems (SoS). We investigate if the HO is a valuable method to perform hazard identification for an autonomous system of systems. The aim of this paper is to report on our experiences when transforming a SoS description to formal ontological representation and how to apply it for Hazard Identification (HI). HI is a method that is generally adopted in safety domains for different types of systems. A system of systems is a type of a large-scale system that mainly comprises of autonomous systems that in themselves are both complex and independent. The SoS requires a thorough understanding of how the whole system and its constituent work with regard to identification and determination of potential hazards. SoS do not always have clearly defined boundaries and contain nonlinear relationships between systems. The unexpected occurrence of sudden changes in SoS can cause the cascading failures and emergent hazards that are difficult to dependably investigate with methods based on analysis for single systems. Emergent hazards are the result of the collection of several systems thus they require hazard analysis techniques that enable identification and examination of hazards from a larger perspective than the single system. The contribution of this paper is a report on the lessons learnt, issues and experiences encountered when transforming a natural language system description to an ontological representation for hazard identification. We describe our findings in identifying hazards and hazards’ components as well as the relations among them. Preliminary results from the transformation of a SoS description into an ontological representation show that the structured approach provided by the ontology allows a thorough investigation of the possible interactions among systems which increases the chance to find the emergent hazards.


author = {Malina Adach and Kaj H{\"a}nninen and Luciana Provenzano and Kristina Lundqvist},
title = {Experiences from Applying an Ontology in Hazard Analysis of Autonomous System of Systems.},
booktitle = {Aerospace Technology Congress 2019},
url = {}