Legal Issues Associated with the Use of Probabilistic Design Methods
Published May 8, 2012 by SAE International in United States
This SAE Aerospace Information Report (AIR) addresses legal issues concerning use of non-deterministic methods in the design and/or analysis of systems. The investigation includes an assessment of legal precedent for use of these methods both in the aerospace industry and in other non-aerospace engineering contexts. The investigation is primarily, but not exclusively, focused on United States of America Federal and State Law.
This document is not intended to be used in any way as a “legal justification” for the use of Probabilistic Methods - it is simply a compilation of experience and past precedent.
Many engineers note that the use of Probabilistic Methods for failure risk assessment implies an acceptance that any design will have a finite, albeit small, risk of loss of function, and express concern that this could be seized upon in a Court of Law to indicate that the design was “unsafe”. This report helps to allay some of these fears by presenting the logic used in past legal determinations to assess liability following loss of function of artifacts designed using both deterministic and probabilistic engineering methods.
Some recommendations are also provided in the report of “good practice” to be followed when using non-deterministic design methods - most of which are equally applicable to deterministic design methods.
AIR5113 has been reaffirmed to comply with the SAE five-year review policy.
Data Sets - Support Documents
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The G-11PM Committee is a part of SAE's Reliability, Maintainability, Supportability and Logistics (RMSL)G-11 Division. The PM Committee has over 100 participants and is one of the fastest growing committees in the RMSL G-11 Division.The Committee has the mission and vision to "enable/facilitate rapid deployment of probabilistic technology to enhance the competitiveness of our industries by better, faster, greener, smarter, affordable, and reliable product development."