What is Autonomy?
Autonomy is at the core of modern complex systems as, increasingly, these systems are required to decide for themselves what to do and when to do it. Such decisions are left to the systems when direct human control becomes infeasible (since the environments are too distant or dangerous), impossible (since humans are not capable of reacting quickly enough), or too expensive.
Autonomy now extends well beyond the traditional area of Robotics, covering autonomous vehicles, sensor networks, medical devices, intelligent buildings, smarter cities, etc. Consequently, the study of autonomy and its use in controlling complex software and hardware systems is vital to the safe, reliable, and effective exploitation of these areas.