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Thesis Work - A feasibility study on STPA method application on Autonomous Drive function

Thesis Worker at Volvo Cars

Welcome to explore the world of Volvo Cars by writing your thesis with us! As a thesis worker in our organization you are supported by a supervisor who follows you during your project. All thesis projects are arranged in business critical areas and therefore you will be able to contribute to our company purpose – providing freedom to move in a safe, sustainable and personal way – from day one! 



As Autonomous Drive (AD) and Pilot Assist functions Agile Release Train (ART), we have responsibility for development, maintenance, verification, and safety assurance of AD function. The thesis proposal is a part of the V&V and safety argumentation (WASA) team. 


Thesis background 
Volvo cars autonomous driving is a promising technology for achieving safer roads, mainly by avoiding accidents caused by human errors. However, replacing a human driver with an unsupervised intelligent system increases the complexity of the system drastically. AD system is one of the most complex systems which needs interaction between different components like diverse sensor technologies (e.g., Lidar, camera), and their AI and ML based software. It implies higher risks of failures, which lead to safety related incidents. To overcome the safety challenges, there are different methods. The traditional and well-established hazard analysis methods, e.g., FTA, FMEA are good tools to help designers to identify and evaluate the faults and design safety measures to mitigate the risks. 


System Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA) is another safety analysis methodology that has been 
developed and published in recent years by Prof. Dr. Nancy Leveson at MIT, which seems to have merit in some aspect compared to well established methods. However, it is not widely adopted yet by the automotive industry as there are other means of addressing the issues now. 


Description of the project 
With the growing number of modular systems, their complexity and interactions will increase. In this case safety is not only related to individual components, but also to the interactions among them. Therefore, more advanced analysis methods are needed. It will lead to new system engineering methods to be used. As both STPA and the automotive industry need to evolve it is important to evaluate the value of the method.


Thus, in this thesis, we would like to perform a study to deliver the following results: 

  • Literature study and understanding of the STPA method. 
  • Applying the STPA method on a closed-loop control system as a part of the autonomous drive function. 
  • Applying one of the common traditional methods, e.g., FTA. FMEA, on the same system, comparing the results and identifying the pros and cons of the methods.


You will be supervised by a PhD on safety verification of complex systems, and co-supervised by an industrial PhD student on safety. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with a research group at Chalmers. You will be placed at Volvo Cars, Torslanda, Gothenburg. 


Do you fit the profile? 
We are looking for enthusiastic students with analytical mindset who are currently studying 
Electrical Engineering, Automotive Engineering, or similar fields. This thesis does not need extensive programming. However, you should be eager to read technical text, understand the concept of the method and apply it on a control system.Good understanding of the system architecture would be beneficial.


Starting date: January 2022 
Number of students: 2 


How can you learn more and apply?

If you have any questions, please contact the industrial 
supervisors Mona Noori mona.noori@volvocars.com, Ali Nouri ali.nouri@volvocars.com or the team manager Behnam Safakhah (behnam.safakhah@volvocars.com).


Please apply with your CV & cover letter while using the electronic link further down in this ad as soon as possible. The ad will be open until November 30th.  


Who are we?

Everything we do starts with people. Our purpose is to provide freedom to move, in a personal, sustainable and safe way. We are committed to simplifying our customers’ lives by offering better technology solutions that improve their impact on the world and bringing the most advanced mobility innovations to protect them, their loved ones and the people around them. 

Volvo Cars’ continued success is the result of a collaborative, diverse, and inclusive working environment. The people of Volvo Cars are committed to making a difference in our world. Today, we are one of the most well-known and respected car brands, with over 40,000 employees across the globe. We believe in bringing out the best in each other and harnessing the true power of people. At Volvo Cars your career is designed around your talents and aspirations so you can reach your full potential. Join us on a journey of a lifetime as we create safety, autonomous driving and electrification technologies of tomorrow.

Gothenburg, Sweden

Job requisition ID:  55875

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