In defining the context of operation of an AS it is important to first define the scope of the system’s autonomous capabilities. It should be noted that this will in many cases be a sub‐set of the full capability of a system where only some of the functionality is provided autonomously, or the system is only capable of performing tasks autonomously some of the time.
Autonomous capabilities of an AS may be provided entirely by the system itself or with shared responsibility between a human, or humans, and the AS. This includes systems where a human is required to monitor the autonomous operation of the AS and intervene if required. Again the limitations on such capabilities should be clearly defined along with the separation of responsibilities.
In defining the autonomous capability of an autonomous robot deployed for delivering small packages around an office environment it is specified that the robot will not be capable of autonomously loading/unloading the packages. A human operator is relied on for the safe loading of packages.
The autonomous capabilities of a self‐driving car vary for different levels of driving automation. For example an SAE level 3 vehicle  may provide autonomous traffic jam pilot capabilities under defined conditions, whereas a level 4 vehicle may provide fully autonomous driving capability under defined conditions.
The definition of autonomous capabilities of the AS will often be an iterative process with activity 2 since the capabilities must be chosen in order to match the requirements of a given ODM.