Jul 13

Robotics4EU Online Debate

Article

The Robotics4EU debate session entitled “The Robotics4EU Maturity Assessment Model” took place online on 9 July 2021. The objective of the debate was to involve manufacturers, researchers, policy makers, citizens in order to discuss the model’s design and possible implementation. To achieve that, three topics were tackled:

  1. how can one concretely assess maturity by converting ethical, legal or socio-economic issues;
  2. who can perform this assessment and who would need the output score;
  3. how to design the overall score.

The event welcomed thirty participants originating mostly from Europe (one from Middle East and one from South America), for a duration of two hours and a half.

The participants raised many excellent points to help Robotics4EU partners design the Model. They noted for example that the need for acceptability varies according to the function and type of the robots (e.g. industrial robot, or domestic use, or assistive robot), thus the Model should consider the target domain of application. The discussions about the assessment model itself explored all the issues identified in Robotics4EU (ethics, socio-economic, data, legal, education & engagement of society). As an example, the participants highlighted that estimating the risk of job loss requires that one ensures that reconversion is possible (no language barrier, existence of other jobs with equal qualification, etc.). Some issues are considered easier to check, in particular when the issues are already framed by regulation, such as data and privacy issues. The score itself should be an indicator that encompasses trustworthiness, safety, usability, etc. It may be split into separate scores, differentiating for example hardware and software. Participants also noted that the notion of maturity may be mapped in relationship to TRL.

The content of the exchanges will lay the foundations of the Model, the preliminary version of which is expected this July. The Model will be designed further in the following of Robotics4EU project, up to a final version in 2023. This incremental design will rely on the involvement of more stakeholders, including industrial stakeholders and citizens, on the occasion of the project’s many future consultations.

In particular, the Model will be tested through proof-of-concept experiments.

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