Legal Aspects of Service Robotics

Legal Aspects of Service Robotics
September 2013 - August 2015
60,000 €
Funding organization: 

Telecom Italia

Person(s) in charge: 

Claudio Artusio (project manager)

Executive summary: 

The Nexa Center is performing a research on legal issues related to service robotics. The research, funded by Telecom Italia - Joint Open Lab CRAB at Politecnico di Torino, aims at identifying the legal framework that currently applies to service robots and describes the major legal issues related to their production and usage. In particular, the implications of data exchange over the cloud (e.g., trivially, to up-date algorithms), and liability aspects.


According to a tentative definition provided by the International Federation of Robotics, service robots are "robots which operate semi or fully autonomously to perform services useful to the well-being of humans and equipment, excluding manufacturing operations". The possible fields of applications are extremely varied (including - among others - home security, surveillance, personal transportation, inspection and maintenance, education and entertainment etc.) and may involve a certain number of legal aspects.


Last Update: 2014-31-03; Next Expected Update: 2015-06-30

Based on the analysis of real cases of design and testing provided by Telecom Italia, the research identified the pertaining legal framework in order to highlight potential legal aspects connected to the development and use of service robots (Work Package 1). Such legal threads will provide the basis for a toolkit for drone users and developers (Work Package 2).

Fellows performing the research: Mauro Alovisio, Carlo Blengino, Marco Ciurcina, Giovanni B. Gallus, Alessandro Mantelero, Ugo Pagallo (WP2 coordinator), Monica A. Senor (WP1 & WP2 coordinator), Massimo Travostino, Giuseppe Vaciago.


Last Update: 2014-03-31; Next Expected Update: 2015-06-30

Starting from a preliminary discussion, including some hints prompted in the occasion of the 61st Nexa Wednesday, and from an ongoing literature review, the research team has been discussing real cases of service robots development with the JOL CRAB. This interaction helped abstracting three major typologies of service robot applications (robotic telepresence; robotic courier; drones within smart city-like environments). To address the potential legal aspects involved, the research team analyzed the main legal threads (in particular, criminal and civil liability connected with the production, processing and transmission of personal data) together with the recent Italian Regulation For Unmanned Air Vehicles which provides a set of safety rules for drones. Particular attention was taken to define the apportionment of liability between Telecom Italia, which actually aims at implementing a cloud infrastructure for the development of service robots applications, and third parties (producers of the robot; developers of software applications for the robot; final users).

The first deliverable, "The Law of Service Robots", was completed and shared with Telecom Italia in early October 2014.

The Nexa team is currently defining and developing the WP2 research tasks, which will utlimately consist of a more practical output; i.e. a legal toolkit illustrating some basic case scenarios in order to help drone users to comply with the current Italian legislation (mainly, the ENAC Regulation).

Also, the Nexa Center is organizing a public meeting with the JOL CRAB, in order to disseminate the research findings, which is going to be held at the University of Turin (Aula Magna - Campus Luigi Einaudi) on May 11 2015.

Robots image "Klotz and Stein" by Pascal on Flickr - license CC-BY 2.0 Generic