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The potential benefits of autonomous systems are obvious. However, there are still major issues to be dealt with before developing such systems becomes a commonplace engineering practice, with accepted and trustworthy deliverables. We argue that a solid, evolving, publicly available, community-controlled foundation for developing next-generation autonomous systems is a must, and term the desired foundation "autonomics." We focus on three main challenges: 1) how to specify autonomous systemdoi:10.1073/pnas.2003162117 pmid:32694210 fatcat:kpq4dbqvxjdc7cmdw4oh4ku6my