Date of Award

Spring 2023

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Software Engineering


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Committee Chair

Massood Towhidnejad

Committee Advisor

Omar Ochoa

First Committee Member

Keith Garfield

College Dean

James Gregory


Machine Learning (ML) models have been gaining popularity in recent years in a wide variety of domains, including safety-critical domains. While ML models have shown high accuracy in their predictions, they are still considered black boxes, meaning that developers and users do not know how the models make their decisions. While this is simply a nuisance in some domains, in safetycritical domains, this makes ML models difficult to trust. To fully utilize ML models in safetycritical domains, there needs to be a method to improve trust in their safety and accuracy without human experts checking each decision. This research proposes a method to increase trust in ML models used in safety-critical domains by ensuring the safety and completeness of the model’s training dataset. Since most of the complexity of the model is built through training, ensuring the safety of the training dataset could help to increase the trust in the safety of the model. The method proposed in this research uses a domain ontology and an image quality characteristic ontology to validate the domain completeness and image quality robustness of a training dataset. This research also presents an experiment as a proof of concept for this method where ontologies are built for the emergency road vehicle domain.