Visible to the public Holistic Assurance Case for System-of-Systems

TitleHolistic Assurance Case for System-of-Systems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsFerrell, Uma D., Anderegg, Alfred H. Andy
Conference Name2022 IEEE/AIAA 41st Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC)
KeywordsAcceptable Safety, AI, Aircraft manufacture, autonomous systems, certification, Complexity, dynamic systems, Ecosystems, Epistemic Safety, Goal-based regulatory Oversight, Hazards, machine learning, Organizations, Performance Based Assurance Case, pubcrawl, resilience, Resiliency, Safety, Safety Continuum, Safety Performance Indicators, Scalability, software assurance, Stakeholders, Standards organizations, Supply chains, Through-life Assurance Case, UAM, UAS, Uncertainty in Performance
AbstractAviation is a highly sophisticated and complex System-of-Systems (SoSs) with equally complex safety oversight. As novel products with autonomous functions and interactions between component systems are adopted, the number of interdependencies within and among the SoS grows. These interactions may not always be obvious. Understanding how proposed products (component systems) fit into the context of a larger SoS is essential to promote the safe use of new as well as conventional technology.UL 4600, is a Standard for Safety for the Evaluation of Autonomous Products specifically written for completely autonomous Load vehicles. The goal-based, technology-neutral features of this standard make it adaptable to other industries and applications.This paper, using the philosophy of UL 4600, gives guidance for creating an assurance case for products in an SoS context. An assurance argument is a cogent structured argument concluding that an autonomous aircraft system possesses all applicable through-life performance and safety properties. The assurance case process can be repeated at each level in the SoS: aircraft, aircraft system, unmodified components, and modified components. The original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) develops the assurance case for the whole aircraft envisioned in the type certification process. Assurance cases are continuously validated by collecting and analyzing Safety Performance Indicators (SPIs). SPIs provide predictive safety information, thus offering an opportunity to improve safety by preventing incidents and accidents. Continuous validation is essential for risk-based approval of autonomously evolving (dynamic) systems, learning systems, and new technology. System variants, derivatives, and components are captured in a subordinate assurance case by their developer. These variants of the assurance case inherently reflect the evolution of the vehicle-level derivatives and options in the context of their specific target ecosystem. These subordinate assurance cases are nested under the argument put forward by the OEM of components and aircraft, for certification credit.It has become a common practice in aviation to address design hazards through operational mitigations. It is also common for hazards noted in an aircraft component system to be mitigated within another component system. Where a component system depends on risk mitigation in another component of the SoS, organizational responsibilities must be stated explicitly in the assurance case. However, current practices do not formalize accounting for these dependencies by the parties responsible for design; consequently, subsequent modifications are made without the benefit of critical safety-related information from the OEMs. The resulting assurance cases, including 3rd party vehicle modifications, must be scrutinized as part of the holistic validation process.When changes are made to a product represented within the assurance case, their impact must be analyzed and reflected in an updated assurance case. An OEM can facilitate this by integrating affected assurance cases across their customer's supply chains to ensure their validity. The OEM is expected to exercise the sphere-of-control over their product even if it includes outsourced components. Any organization that modifies a product (with or without assurance argumentation information from other suppliers) is accountable for validating the conditions for any dependent mitigations. For example, the OEM may manage the assurance argumentation by identifying requirements and supporting SPI that must be applied in all component assurance cases. For their part, component assurance cases must accommodate all spheres-of-control that mitigate the risks they present in their respective contexts. The assurance case must express how interdependent mitigations will collectively assure the outcome. These considerations are much more than interface requirements and include explicit hazard mitigation dependencies between SoS components. A properly integrated SoS assurance case reflects a set of interdependent systems that could be independently developed..Even in this extremely interconnected environment, stakeholders must make accommodations for the independent evolution of products in a manner that protects proprietary information, domain knowledge, and safety data. The collective safety outcome for the SoS is based on the interdependence of mitigations by each constituent component and could not be accomplished by any single component. This dependency must be explicit in the assurance case and should include operational mitigations predicated on people and processes.Assurance cases could be used to gain regulatory approval of conventional and new technology. They can also serve to demonstrate consistency with a desired level of safety, especially in SoSs whose existing standards may not be adequate. This paper also provides guidelines for preserving alignment between component assurance cases along a product supply chain, and the respective SoSs that they support. It shows how assurance is a continuous process that spans product evolution through the monitoring of interdependent requirements and SPI. The interdependency necessary for a successful assurance case encourages stakeholders to identify and formally accept critical interconnections between related organizations. The resulting coordination promotes accountability for safety through increased awareness and the cultivation of a positive safety culture.
NotesISSN: 2155-7209
Citation Keyferrell_holistic_2022