Guided Safety Analysis for Cyber Physical Systems

Tech ID: 19-016

Inventors: Jane Huang, Michael Vierhauser, Ankit Agrawal

Date Added: April 14, 2021


A tool which visualizes impact of hazards on a system and provides warnings and recommendations when issues are identified.

Technology Summary

Cyber physical systems (CPS) interact with subsystems of software intensive systems which are the foundation of many innovations like autonomous vehicles or robots, medical devices, and UAV applications. Safety assurance cases (SACs) are used by CPS manufacturing companies to evaluate the safety of the software intensive systems which identify potential system hazards and sets requirements in place to mitigate these hazards in order to prevent failures in the interfaces which could result in casualties or significant financial loss. High time and labor costs for companies to recertify a modified version of a product prevents the organization from releasing new features. Additionally, current management tools generate trace slices or trees, however they tend to be rudimentary in terms of visualization support.

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have developed a tool called Safety Artifact Forest Analysis (SAFA) which assists safety analysts to build and maintain safe products as they evolve through a series of releases. SAFA creates a visual of the hazards of a safety case and provides warnings and recommendations based on the issues. It compares the code from the previous version to the updated version, and generates actionable recommendations, easing the challenge of identifying the system change on an existing safety case. The tool also interfaces with popular repositories such as Jira, DOORS, GitHub, and bitbucket.

Market Advantages

  • Improved visualization
  • Faster iterations of CPS development
  • Reduced revising time from 2-6 months to 1-3 months (50%)
  • Improved communication between safety analysts and reviewers
  • Customer satisfaction with more frequent product updates available

Market Applications

  • Safety impact devices such as
    • Medical devices
    • Signaling systems
    • Robotic controls
    • Emerging UAV market

Technology Readiness Level

TRL 3 – Experimental Proof of Concept

Intellectual Property

Patent Pending


Leveraging Artifact Trees to Evolve and Reuse Safety Cases. doi:10.1109/ICSE.2019.00124.


Richard Cox