The DSA-R committee identified eight technology / business challenges that define the scope of DSA development required to achieve the vision for drilling systems automation. These challenges are all interdependent with multiple interfaces. In February 2014, the committee launched teams to define the way ahead for each challenge. The challenges are:

Systems Architecture [John de Wardt] defines integration and physical interoperability of the drilling system, including prime sub-systems, and includes the hierarchy of workflows, interfaces, definition of states, and other aspects that enable system functionality.

Communications [Moray Laing] addresses links among the downhole, surface, remote operating centers, and distributed experts, in addition to standards for common protocols and interoperability, deterministic systems for hardware control, and secure data transport at all levels.

Instrumentation & Measurement Systems [John Macpherson] defines the requirements for delivering comprehensive, reliable, quality measurements of the downhole, and surface operations in a timely manner for DSA.

Drilling Machines and Equipment [Robin Macmillan] includes a wide range of surface and downhole drilling equipment and robotics that are highly mechanized and semi-autonomous.

Control Systems [Calvin Inabinett] focusses on downhole, surface, and remote systems directed at creating the wellbore and delivering various levels of automation from monitoring through advisory control to autonomous systems.

Simulation Systems and Modelling [Blaine Dow] covers planning, real-time, offline, remote and post-well modeling, and simulation tools and systems.

Human Systems Integration [Amanda DiFiore] addresses the interaction of automation systems with humans and mode issues including human displays, human machine interfaces, role competencies, training, and distributed and decentralized control.

Industry Standards and Certification [Mark Anderson] identifies available and required standards and regulations that define the operations of automation as well as current and future impacts that can define the ultimate future of DSA.

Contingency Management System [John de Wardt] critical for safe, deterministic, trustable, deployable autonomy – system ability to “get out of trouble” (added Dec 2015).