What are Autonomous Systems?
Autonomous systems can achieve a set of goals in a changing environment – collecting information about the environment and operating for a period of time without human involvement or control.
The system must be able to do the following tasks in order to be considered autonomous:
- Monitor the environment and the current state and location of the system.
- Perceive and interpret data sources that are disparate.
- Decide what to do next and create a strategy for it.
- Avoid situations that pose a threat to human safety, property, or the autonomous system itself.
The technology of autonomous systems is really transformative, with potential benefits of cost and risk reduction. In addition, the technology has the potential to enable completely new capabilities in environments where direct human control is not physically possible. It should also be noted that autonomy development is a true systems engineering discipline that spans traditional engineering domains and system life-cycle phases. For these reasons, APL (Applied Physics Laboratory) has identified autonomous systems technology as a key area for future development and an important part of its science and technology vision.
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