Press Release: SAFEXPLAIN facilitates the safety certification of critical autonomous AI-based systems for a more competitive EU industry

Date: February 13, 2023

Barcelona, 13 February 2023. – The EU-funded SAFEXPLAIN (Safe and Explainable Critical
Embedded Systems based on AI) project, launched on 1 October 2022, seeks to lay the foundation
for Critical Autonomous AI-based Systems (CAIS) applications that are smarter and safer by
ensuring that they adhere to functional safety requirements in environments that require quick
and real-time response times that are increasingly run on the edge. This three-year project brings
together a six-partner consortium representing academia and industry.

Figure 1: SAFEXPLAIN consortium kick-off meeting in Barcelona

AI technology offers the potential to improve the competitiveness of European companies and
the AI market itself is expected to reach $191 billion by 2024 in response to companies’ growing
demand for mature autonomous and intelligent systems. CAIS are becoming especially ubiquitous
in industries like rail, automotive and space, where the digitization of CAIS offers huge benefits
to society, including safer roads, skies and airports through the prevention 90% of collisions per
year and the reduction of up to 80% of the CO2 profile of different types of vehicles.

Deep Learning (DL) technology that supports AI is
key for most future advanced software functions in
CAIS, however, there is a fundamental gap between
its Functional Safety (FUSA) requirements and the
nature of DL solutions. The lack of transparency
(mainly explainability and traceability) and the data-
dependent and stochastic nature of DL software
clash with the need for clear, verifiable and pass/fail
test-based software solutions for CAIS. SAFEXPLAIN
tackles this challenge by providing a novel and
flexible approach for the certification – and hence
adoption – of DL-based solutions in CAIS.
Jaume Abella, SAFEXPLAIN coordinator, highlights
that “this project aims to rethink FUSA certification
processes and DL software design to set the
groundwork for how to certify DL-based fully
autonomous systems of any type beyond very
specific and non-generalizable cases existing today.”

Three cases studies will illustrate the benefits of SAFEXPLAIN technology in the automotive,
railway and space domains. Each domain has its own stringent safety requirements set by their
respective safety standards, and the project will tailor automotive and railway certification
systems and space qualification approaches to enable the use of new FUSA-aware DL solutions.
To benefit wider groups of society, the technologies developed by the project will be integrated
into an industrial toolset prototype. Various IP and implementations will be available open source,
along with specific practical examples of their use to grant end-users the tools to develop those

About Safexplain

The SAFEXPLAIN (Safe and Explainable Critical Embedded Systems based on AI) is a HORIZON
Research and Innovation Action financed under grant agreement 101069595. The project began
on 1 October 2022 and will end in September 2025. The project is formed by an inter-disciplinary
consortium of six partners coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC). The
consortium is composed of three research centers, RISE (Sweden; AI expertise), IKERLAN (Spain;
FUSA and railway expertise) and BSC (Spain; platform expertise) and three CAIS industries,
NAVINFO (Netherlands; automotive), AIKO (Italy; space), and EXIDA DEV (Italy; FUSA and