Strategic Enhancement of Autonomous Systems Research Committee
What is Strategic Enhancement of Autonomous Systems Research (CSEASR)?
At its broadest level, CSEASR is an interdisciplinary group of experts from across campus that serves in an advisory capacity to the Vice President for Research & Economic Development on issues relating to the conduct and parameters of Autonomous Systems Research (ASR) at UND, including, in collaboration with the Research Institute for Autonomous Systems (RIAS) and the Northern Plains UAS Test Site (NPUASTS), the promotion, development, enhancement, and support of a comprehensive portfolio of ASR.
CSEASR seeks to:
- Provide feedback, support, and guidance to researchers in any area of ASR at any stage of research, from initial generation of ideas to proposal drafting to execution of funded research.
- Strategically enhance UND’s ASR portfolio and evaluate the proposals submitted in response to RFP calls.
- Promote ASR to internal and external stakeholders.
- Assist in shaping consensus, research development, policy, and operating rules at the intersection(s) of humans and technology.
- Build a comprehensive knowledge database of all ongoing UND research in ASR as a resource for faculty considering new research in ASR, external entities interested in partnerships, and external stakeholders interested in supporting UND ASR, among others.
In accordance with UND’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems policy, maintain and develop policies and procedures for review of ASR to ensure ongoing consideration of the most recent safety, ethical, and privacy guidelines and regulations at the local, state, and federal levels, with a focus on processes that are minimally intrusive and maximize support for PIs.
CSEASR replaces the Committee on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research Ethics and Privacy.
What is Autonomous Systems Research?
UND’s Autonomous Systems research involves developing and improving automated and autonomous systems, which exist on a continuum of increasing autonomy. As a broad field of inquiry, Autonomous Systems Research is incredibly diverse and wide-ranging in the array of technical, cognitive, and ethical issues and concerns raised by the design, integration, application, and end uses of the technology, with implications for research not only in STEM but also from law, social sciences, humanities, arts, economics, business, education, and public policy, among others.
- By way of a working definition, autonomy implies the ability of a system (often a machine with one or several processing units) to perform functional tasks that involve dynamically executing a “decision cycle” in much the same fashion as a human. That decision cycle can be described as a loop of Sense, Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.
- The system can operate and adapt to changing circumstances with reduced or without human control. Such a system may or may not interact with the physical environment and will exhibit at least some combination of four identifying characteristics: it will be Cognizant, Taskable, Adaptable, and Ethical. This autonomy results in the delegation of a decision to an authorized entity to take action within specific boundaries, but without prescriptive rules.
- To be autonomous, a system must have the capability to independently compose and select among different courses of action to accomplish goals based on its inputs, knowledge and understanding of the world, itself, and the situation. The primary intellectual foundation for autonomy stems from artificial intelligence (AI), the capability of computer systems to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence (e.g., sensing, perception, conversation, decision-making).
For more information regarding ASR at UND or about the objectives of CSEASR, please contact the committee chair, Joe Vacek