Systems-theoretic safety assessment of robotic telesurgical systems

Homa Alemzadeh, Daniel Chen, Andrew Lewis, Zbigniew Kalbarczyk, Jaishankar Raman, Nancy Leveson, Ravishankar Iyer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Robotic surgical systems are among the most complex medical cyber-physical systems on the market. Despite significant improvements in design of those systems through the years, there have been ongoing occurrences of safety incidents that negatively impact patients during procedures. This paper presents an approach for systems-theoretic safety assessment of robotic telesurgical systems using software-implemented fault injection. We used a systems-theoretic hazard analysis technique (STPA) to identify the potential safety hazard scenarios and their contributing causes in RAVEN II, an open-source telerobotic surgical platform. We integrated the robot control software with a software-implemented fault injection engine that measures the resilience of system to the identified hazard scenarios by automatically inserting faults into different parts of the software. Representative hazard scenarios from real robotic surgery incidents reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) MAUDE database were used to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed approach for safety-based design of robotic telesurgical systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationComputer Safety, Reliability, and Security - 34th International Conference, SAFECOMP 2015, Proceedings
EditorsFloor Koornneef, Coen van Gulijk
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9783319242545
StatePublished - 2015
Event34th International Conference on Computer Safety, Reliability, and Security, SAFECOMP 2015 - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: Sep 23 2015Sep 25 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other34th International Conference on Computer Safety, Reliability, and Security, SAFECOMP 2015


  • FDA MAUDE database
  • Fault injection
  • Hazard analysis
  • Robotic surgery
  • STPA
  • System safety
  • Telerobotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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