Prof. Dr. Simon Burton

Scientific Director Safety Assurance at Fraunhofer IKS

© FraunhoferIKS/M.Kroll
Prof. Dr. Simon Burton, Scientific Director Safety Assurance at Fraunhofer IKS

Prof. Dr. Simon Burton is Scientific Director Safety Assurance at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS.

He graduated in computer science at the University of York, where he also achieved his Phd on the topic of the verification of safety-critical software in 2001. Simon has a background in a number of safety-critical industries. He has spent the last two decades mainly focusing on automotive, working in research and development projects as well as leading consulting, engineering service and product organisations. Within this time, he has supported manufacturers, suppliers and service organizations by providing solutions for process improvement, embedded software development, safety and security. Most recently, he held the role of Director of Vehicle Systems Safety at Robert Bosch GmbH where, amongst other things, his efforts were focused on developing strategies for ensuring the safety of automated driving systems. 

In September 2020, he joined the leadership of Fraunhofer IKS in the role of Scientific Director Safety Assurance where he steers research strategy into “safe intelligence”. His own personal research interests include the safety assurance of complex, autonomous systems, and the safety of machine learning. Simon is an author of numerous international academic publications and an active member of the programme committees of international safety conferences and workshops. In addition to his role within Fraunhofer IKS, he has the role of honorary visiting professor at the University of York where he supports a number of research activities and interdisciplinary collaborations.

Blog articles by and about Prof. Dr. Simon Burton

On our blog you will find numerous articles by our colleagues about the research topics of Fraunhofer IKS. Here are the blog articles by and about Prof. Dr. Simon Burton:



Safety management for automated driving systems

Two leading experts from the Fraunhofer IKS and the University of York in the safety of complex systems have published a paper proposing a new approach to assure the safety of cognitive cyber-physical systems (CPS), including automated driving systems.


Automated driving

Are we almost at the finish line?

Automated driving functions pose special requirements for the development of test procedures. This makes it all the more important to systematically develop a testing strategy.


Autonomous driving

Complex systems are a challenge for safety

When it comes to ensuring the safety of automated driving systems, technological as well as social and legal aspects must be taken into account. However, automated driving systems have the potential to make roads significantly safer.


Complex Systems

Automated driving and safety - a broader perspective

Systems such as those used for autonomous driving are becoming increasingly complex. The task of proving their safety is therefore equally demanding. We propose a holistic view at this complex problem.


Projekt "Safeguarding AI"

Proving the safety of AI

The Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems IKS is a partner in the "Safeguarding AI" research project. The joint project is based on the "Autonomous and Connected Driving" flagship initiative launched by the German Automotive Industry Association (VDA). 28 partner companies and institutions are working together on solutions to safeguard AI function modules in driverless vehicles.


Interview with Simon Burton

“I’ve always had a great affinity for research.”

Science needs to prove that systems based on artificial intelligence (AI) are safe enough. That is what Prof. Simon Burton, who recently became Division Director for Safety at Fraunhofer IKS, is calling for. In this interview he explains the institute’s approaches to ensuring safety.

Articles by and with Prof. Dr. Simon Burton

Here you will find recent articles that Prof. Dr. Simon Burton has written for various media or for which he has been interviewed.



"AI in cars - a complex challenge, but doable"

In this podcast, Prof. Dr. Simon Burton from Fraunhofer IKS explains the key issues when it comes to the safety of AI in cars, the challenges facing engineers, and the homework that car manufacturers still have to do to ensure safe autonomous driving.


FAZ Digitec Podcast

When is an artificial intelligence safe?

In this episode of the Digitec Podcast, Prof. Dr. Simon Burton, research director at Fraunhofer IKS, explains how far AI has come today, what security means in a complex system - and what role it plays in various areas, from autonomous driving to recommendation algorithms, from industry to social media.


FAZ - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

The pitfalls of autonomous driving

The safety requirements for AI systems for autonomous driving are high, as ethical judgment and lawful behavior are required. Simon Burton, research director at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cognitive Systems, explains what the biggest challenges are in the quest for "safe" autonomous driving cars in his technical article for the FAZ.