Testing, Validation, and Verification of Robotic and Autonomous Systems: A Systematic Review

Hugo Araujo, Mohammad Reza Mousavi, Mahsa Varshosaz

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We perform a systematic literature review on testing, validation, and verification of robotic and autonomous systems (RAS). The scope of this review covers peer-reviewed research papers proposing, improving or evaluating testing techniques, process, or tools that address the system-level qualities of RAS.

Our survey is performed based on a rigorous methodology structured in three phases. First, we made use of a set of 26 seed papers (selected by domain experts) and the SERP-TEST taxonomy to design our search query and (domain-specific) taxonomy. Second, we conducted a search in three academic search engines and applied our inclusion and exclusion criteria to the results. Respectively, we made use of related work and domain specialists (50 academics and 15 industry experts) to validate and refine the search query. As a result, we encountered 10,735 studies, out of which, 195 were included, reviewed and coded.

Our objective is to answer four research questions, pertaining to (1) the type of models, (2) measures for system performance and testing adequacy, (3) tools and their availability, and (4) evidence of applicability, particularly in industrial contexts. We analyse the results of our coding to identify strengths and gaps in the domain and present recommendations to researchers and practitioners.

Our findings show that variants of temporal logics are most widely used for modelling requirements and properties, while variants of state-machines and transition systems are used widely for modelling system behaviour. Other common models concern epistemic logics for specifying requirements and belief-desire-intention models for specifying system behaviour. Apart from time and epistemics, other aspects captured in models concern probabilities (e.g., for modelling uncertainty) and continuous trajectories (e.g., for modelling vehicle dynamics and kinematics).

Many papers lack any rigorous measure of efficiency, effectiveness, or adequacy for their proposed techniques, processes, or tools. Among those that provide a measure of efficiency, effectiveness, or adequacy the majority use domain-agnostic generic measures such as number of failures, size of state-space or verification time were most used. There is a trend in addressing the research gap in this respect by developing domain-specific notions of performance and adequacy. Defining widely-accepted rigorous measures of performance and adequacy for each domain is an identified research gap.

In terms of tools, the most widely used tools are well-established model-checkers such as Prism and Uppaal, as well as simulation tools such as Gazebo; Matlab/Simulink is another widely used toolset in this domain.

Overall there is very limited evidence of industrial applicability in the papers published in this domain. There is even a gap considering consolidated benchmarks for various types of autonomous systems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (TOSEM)
Publication statusPublished - 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Testing, Validation, and Verification of Robotic and Autonomous Systems: A Systematic Review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this