Rethinking Regulation for Experimenting with Emerging Robotics Technologies

Eduard Fosch Villaronga, Michiel A. Heldeweg

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Great expectations and major concerns accompany the development and possible uses of robotics in many areas of life and in many forms, such as drones and care-robots. Possible pro’s and con’s require careful regulatory attention, both as regards technological aspects and with respect to societal/ethical appraisal. The latter seem relevant also in respect of constitutional rights & principles such as to/on safety/life, privacy (i.e. data protection), dignity and autonomy. As currently there is still a lack of interdisciplinary analysis on and assessment of the impact of robotics’ technology on citizens/society, there is a need to develop a dynamic regulatory instrument that co-evolves with robot-technology development, both at the level of specific types of robots and/or specific robotics’ uses, and to inform new general robotics’ policies – respectful of the afore constitutional principles & rights. The contribution will propose a dynamic regulatory tool, involving both a top-down & bottom-up precautionary approach within collective action settings, with iteration between operational experimental situations and constitutional situations (facilitating experimental regimes and evaluating their outcomes). Impact assessment, such as PIA, SIA and CRIA, will be discussed as being instrumental to experimenting by derogation, next to discussing possibilities for experimental testing zones (e.g. the Tokku Special Testing Robotic Zone for Regulatory Purposes) as a possible mode of experimenting by devolution. Finally, the paper will address the need for overarching regulation on robotics and the options for enhancing an open structured regulatory approach, avoiding over- and underregulation, and securing stakeholder-involvement toward effective, efficient and legitimate closure of possible future regulatory gaps.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2016
EventStaatsrechtconferentie 2016: Constitutionele mogelijkheden en beperkingen voor experimenteel handelen en experimentele wetgeving - The Gallery, Campus Universiteit Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 16 Dec 201616 Dec 2016


ConferenceStaatsrechtconferentie 2016


  • IR-103024
  • METIS-320955

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