Formal Methods for the Certification of Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft Systems

  • Matt Webster
  • Michael Fisher
  • Neil Cameron
  • Mike Jump
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6894)


In this paper we assess the feasibility of using formal methods, and model checking in particular, for the certification of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) within civil airspace. We begin by modelling a basic UAS control system in Promela, and verify it against a selected subset of the CAA’s Rules of the Air using the Spin model checker. Next we build a more advanced UAS control system using the autonomous agent language Gwendolen, and verify it against the small subset of the Rules of the Air using the agent model checker AJPF. We introduce more advanced autonomy into the UAS agent and show that this too can be verified. Finally we compare and contrast the various approaches, discuss the paths towards full certification, and present directions for future research.


Model Checking Formal Methods Unmanned Aircraft System Autonomous Systems Certification 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matt Webster
    • 1
  • Michael Fisher
    • 2
  • Neil Cameron
    • 1
  • Mike Jump
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Virtual Engineering CentreDaresbury LaboratoryWarringtonUK
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of LiverpoolUK
  3. 3.School of EngineeringUniversity of LiverpoolUK

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