Public opinion on complex scientific topics can have dramatic effects on industrial sectors (e.g. GM crops, fracking, global warming). In order to realise the industrial and societal benefits of Autonomous Systems, they must be trustworthy by design and default, judged both through objective processes of systematic assurance and certification, and via the more subjective lens of users, industry, and the public. The UKRI Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) Hub will start to address this and deliver against these challenges from September 2020.

The hub will be at the centre of the TAS programme, funded by the UKRI Strategic Priorities Fund. The role of the TAS Hub is to coordinate and work with the seven research nodes (to be awarded), and act as the “shop window” for the TAS programme nationally and internationally.

The TAS hub assembles a team from the Universities of Southampton, Nottingham, and King’s College London that is world renowned for research in understanding the socially embedded nature of technologies. The TAS hub will establish a collaborative platform for the UK to deliver world-leading best practices for the design, regulation and operation of ‘socially beneficial’ autonomous  systems which are both trustworthy in principle, and trusted in practice by individuals, society and government.

The TAS hub will work to bring together those within a broader landscape of TAS research, including the TAS nodes, to deliver the fundamental scientific principles that underpin TAS; it will provide a focal point for market and society-led research into TAS; and provide a visible and open door to engage a broad range of end-users, international collaborators and investors. The TAS hub will do this by delivering three key programmes to deliver the overall TAS programme, including the Research Programme, the Advocacy & Engagement Programme, and the Skills Programme.
The core of the Research Programme is to amplify and shape TAS research and innovation in the UK, building on existing programmes and linking with the seven TAS nodes to deliver a coherent programme to ensure coverage of the fundamental research issues.

The Advocacy & Engagement Programme will create a set of mechanisms for engagement and co-creation with the public, public sector actors, government, the third sector, and industry to help define best practices, assurance processes, and formulate policy. It will engage in cross-sector industry and partner connection and brokering across nodes.

The Skills Programme will create a structured pipeline for future leaders in TAS research and innovation with new training programmes and openly available resources for broader upskilling and reskilling in TAS industry. The Advocacy & Engagement Programme will create a set of mechanisms for engagement and co-creation with the public, public sector actors, government, the third sector, and industry to help define best practices, assurance processes, and formulate policy. It will engage in cross-sector industry and partner connection and brokering across nodes.

The Skills Programme will create a structured pipeline for future leaders in TAS research and innovation with new training programmes and openly available resources for broader upskilling and reskilling in TAS industry.