The resolution on the future of robotics, signed by the European parliament last February, was passed by 396 votes to 123, with 85 abstentions. In their request for comprehensive rules guaranteeing safety and ethical standards, the MEPs were guided by the Luxembourg Socialist Mady Delvaux.
This is what the MEPs called for, in three points:
- to create a specific legal status for robots in order to establish who is liable if they cause damage. An example above all: accidents caused by self-driving cars. MEPs propose to establish a mandatory insurance scheme and a supplementary fund to ensure that victims of accidents involving driverless cars are fully compensated.
- to establish an ethical code of conduct on robotics for researchers and designers to ensure that they operate in accordance with legal and ethical standards and that robot design and use respect human dignity.
- to consider creating a European agency for robotics and artificial intelligence, to supply public authorities with ethical, technical and regulatory expertise.
As it is known, the advent of robots might result in tremendous changes in the labour market and this is why MEPs have urged the European Commission to follow these trends closely. The request is justified not only by the need to fully exploit the economic potential of these tools but also to guarantee a EU shared and standard level of safety and protection in order to avoid countries which have no standards in this field being forced to follow those set by third countries.