Autonomous things

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Autonomous things, abbreviated AuT, or the Internet of autonomous things, abbreviated as IoAT, is an emerging term[1][2][3][4][5] for the technological developments that are expected to bring computers into the physical environment as autonomous entities without human direction, freely moving and interacting with humans and other objects.

Self-navigating drones are the first AuT technology in (limited) deployment.[6][7] It is expected that the first mass-deployment of AuT technologies will be the autonomous car, generally expected to be available around 2020.[8] Other currently expected AuT technologies include home robotics (e.g., machines that provide care for the elderly,[9][10] infirm or young), and military robots[11][12] (air, land or sea autonomous machines with information-collection or target-attack capabilities).

AuT technologies share many common traits, which justify the common notation. They are all based on recent breakthroughs in the domains of (deep) machine learning and artificial intelligence.[13][14][15] They all require extensive and prompt regulatory developments to specify the requirements from them and to license and manage their deployment[16] (see the further reading below). And they all require unprecedented levels of safety (e.g., automobile safety) and security,[17][18][19] to overcome concerns about the potential negative impact of the new technology.

As an example, the autonomous car both addresses the main existing safety issues and creates new issues. It is expected to be much safer than existing vehicles, by eliminating the single most dangerous element – the driver. The US's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 94 percent of US accidents were the result of human error and poor decision-making, including speeding and impaired driving,[20] and the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School claims that "Some ninety percent of motor vehicle crashes are caused at least in part by human error".[21] So while safety standards like the ISO 26262 specify the required safety, there is still a burden on the industry to demonstrate acceptable safety.

While car accidents claim every year 35,000 lives in the US,[22] and 1.25 million worldwide,[23] some[who?] believe that even "a car that's 10 times as safe, which means 3,500 people die on the roads each year [in the US alone]" would not be accepted by the public.[20] The acceptable level may be closer to the current figures on aviation accidents and incidents, with under a thousand worldwide deaths in most years[24] – three orders of magnitude lower than cars. This underscores the unprecedented nature of the safety requirements that will need to be met for cars, with similar levels of safety expected for other Autonomous Things.


  1. ^ "The Internet of Autonomous Things". Archived from the original on April 19, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "The Internet-of-Autonomous-Things (IoAT)". ResearchGate.
  3. ^ "IoT to IoAT: Internet of Autonomous Things devices provides solutions  - Control Engineering".
  4. ^ "Big Data Critical in IoT to the Progression from Connected to Autonomous Things – Cloudera VISION". October 20, 2016.
  5. ^ "Top 10 Tech Trends: Autonomous Agents and Things – IT Products & Solutions". Archived from the original on April 19, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  6. ^ "Watch: How a self-piloting drone works". January 21, 2016.
  7. ^ "Self-flying drone dips, darts and dives through trees at 30 mph – MIT CSAIL".
  8. ^ "Forecasts – Driverless car market watch".
  9. ^ "IBM is working on a robot that takes care of elderly people who live alone".
  10. ^ Mulligan, Gabriella (March 17, 2017). "Is robotics a solution to the growing needs of the elderly?" – via
  11. ^ "Autonomous Weapons "Could Be Developed for Use Within Years," Says Arms-Control Group". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News.
  12. ^ Rosenberg, Matthew; Markoff, John (October 25, 2016). "The Pentagon's 'Terminator Conundrum': Robots That Could Kill on Their Own" – via
  13. ^ "Why Deep Learning Is Suddenly Changing Your Life".
  14. ^ "Turing Learning breakthrough: Computers can now learn from pure observation – ExtremeTech". August 30, 2016.
  15. ^ Kelly, Kevin. "The Three Breakthroughs That Have Finally Unleashed AI on the World".
  16. ^ Vehicles, California Department of Motor. "Deployment of Autonomous Vehicles for Public Operation".
  17. ^ "Worried about cybersecurity and the connected car? There's a bill for that".
  18. ^ "Connected cars: security and privacy risks on wheels".
  19. ^ "A Future Full of Drones – and the Advanced Threats They Present". April 29, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Steven Overly (February 20, 2017). "The big moral dilemma facing self-driving cars". Retrieved April 18, 2017. "[..] Would we accept that?" asks John Hanson, a spokesman for the Toyota Research Institute, which is developing the automaker's self-driving technology. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  21. ^ Bryant Walker Smith (December 18, 2013). "Human error as a cause of vehicle crashes". Retrieved April 18, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ "Quick Facts 2015". US DOT. Retrieved April 18, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ "Road traffic deaths". World Health Organization.
  24. ^ "Death Rate per Year". Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives (ACRO). Retrieved April 18, 2017

Further reading[edit]