Applicability of systems-theoretic methods in the safety assessment of autonomous port logistics

Eetu Heikkilä, Risto Tiusanen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


Increasing autonomy of operations is a major development trend in port logistics. Large container terminals have already automated various parts of their operations. In the future, also smaller terminals aim for increased efficiency using automation and autonomous systems. In such use, the machinery used for container handling needs to be highly adaptive and able to conduct a multitude of tasks in changing environmental conditions. This results in a complex and dynamic operating environment where manual and autonomous machines, as well as humans, may work simultaneously in the same area.

In this paper, we focus on addressing the systemic safety hazards resulting from the interactions between various actors in the context of a small container terminal. Selected existing systems-theoretic hazard analysis methods are reviewed, specifically covering the following: AcciMap; Functional Resonance Analysis Method (FRAM); System-Theoretic Accident Model and Processes (STAMP), and the associated STPA hazard analysis method.

The methods are studied particularly from the point of view of their suitability for addressing the challenges relevant for autonomous machine systems in small container terminals. Based on the findings, we present a preliminary safety assessment approach applicable in the concept design phase of such systems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAssuring Safe Autonomy
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 28th Safety-Critical Systems Symposium (SSS’20)
EditorsMike Parsons, Mark Nicholson
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2020
MoE publication typeB3 Non-refereed article in conference proceedings
Event28th Annual Safety-Critical Systems Symposium 2020 - York, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Feb 202013 Feb 2020


Conference28th Annual Safety-Critical Systems Symposium 2020
Abbreviated titleSSS'20
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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