Conference paper Open Access

Harnessing robot experimentation to optimise the regulatory framing of emerging robot technologies

Carlos Calleja; Hadassah Drukarch; Eduard Fosch-Villaronga

Robotics and AI are dynamically and rapidly evolving, introducing the problem of regulatory disconnection, where either "the covering descriptions employed by the regulation no longer correspond to the technology" or "the technology and its applications raise doubts as to the value compact that underlies the regulatory scheme." Lack of information seems to be one of the main drivers behind such a disconnection. Equipping regulators with better means to understand and tackle novel technologies thus demands solving information asymmetries among developers and policymakers. This paper introduces PROPELLING: 'Pushing robot development for lawmaking,' an FSTP (financial support to third parties) from the H2020 EUROBENCH project一 as an alternative for remediating those asymmetries. Using ISO's safety standards for lower-limb exoskeletons as a case study, PROPELLING probes testbeds as data generators for standard-makers. Its central tenet is that testbeds offer a promising setting for bringing policymakers closer to research and development (R&D), and, in this way, they can be harnessed to unravel an optimal regulatory framework for emerging technologies that is based on science and evidence. The piece is structured in four sections. Section 2 argues that the paucity of data encumbers defining adequate policies for robotics. Section 3 introduces PROPELLING as a model for addressing those difficulties, whereas Section 4 highlights the significance of experimentation for improving the content of standards. Section 5 presents some of the difficulties of experimentation and early lessons learned. It also argues for the importance of testbeds and data repositories as a proper setting for replicable experimentation and information gathering.

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