On May 31, 2016, the European Parliament issued its recommendation to the Commission on Civil Law Rules on Robotics, in order to adopt a robotic framework taking into account that in the short to medium term robotics and artificial intelligence promise to bring benefits of efficiency and savings, in areas such as medical care, transportation, education, farming, production and ecommerce, and even though for rescue activities and operations.
In this regard, on October 26, 2016, the EC announced the financing of the “Walk-Man Project”, developed by the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa. The project has a total budget of €7.4 million over 4 years. The EU contributes €5.6 million. The Walk Man project aims to develop a humanoid robot, which has the size of a robust man (1.85 m tall 120 kg), that can operate in buildings that were damaged following natural and man-made disasters. The robot will demonstrate new skills: -Dextrous, powerful manipulation skills – e.g. turning a heavy valve of lifting collapsed masonry, -robust balanced locomotion – walking, crawling over a debris pile, and – physical sturdiness – e.g. operating conventional hand tools such as pneumatic drills or cutters (http://www.walk-man.eu).
The current European legal framework is not sufficient to cover many issues related to robotics and artificial intelligence, such their classification, human safety, security and standardization, privacy and data ownership, integrity, liability, intellectual property and the flow of data.
Therefore, for the EP, it is essential that they will be addressed by the European Union, in order to take common regulatory actions to define all the legal implication to unleash a new industrial revolution.