Pisa, Italy

The Regulation of Robotics in Europe: Legal, Ethical and Economic Implications

when 2 July 2018 - 7 July 2018
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 600

The course aims at providing students with a broad understanding of all implications of robotics that are going to be of increasing relevance in the legal, political and social debate over the coming years.

According to a study by McKinsey, robotics is a disruptive technology that may reach a market value of USD 4.5 trillion per year by 2025. Developing a leading industry in this field is therefore strategic and all major world economies are heavily investing in its research. This is the case in Europe, China, Japan, Korea, and the United States.

At the same time, some technologies – in particular biorobotics (bionic limbs, exoskeletons, brain machine interfaces) – are going to deeply challenge our understanding of human life and human limits. Other technologies – e.g. expert systems and AI – promise to reshape the labour market - triggering unemployment for some and opening up new possibilities for others.

As every aspect of our society will be touched upon, mere technological research is insufficient. Social scientists – lawyers, political scientists, economists, as well as engineers researching these technologies need to start addressing the many relevant issues raised. To do so, however, they need to acquire a novel and highly interdisciplinary approach, crossing law, economics, engineering and ethics.

The course will offer an overview:

- of relevant European regulation, both existing and prospective, in fields such as liability, privacy (privacy by design), robot-testing, and product safety

- of European and international standards for certification and benchmarking,

- of the ethical debate triggered by some emerging technologies, including autonomous vehicles, AI and biorobotics products for human enhancement

- of the European approach to Responsible Research and Innovation,

- of the economic challenges connected with innovation (start-ups and financing).

Moreover, it will introduce students to a highly interdisciplinary methodology – developed within the EU funded RoboLaw Project – to analyze these relevant issues.

The knowledge and skills acquired by the end of the course are intended to provide the necessary background to start independent research in law and technology, as well as to provide consultancy to industries involved in the development of robotic devices.

Course leader

Dr. Andrea Bertolini

Target group

Students at an advanced stage of their university courses ( last year students ) or graduate students (master or Ph.D.) in law, political sciences, economics and engineering, interested in understanding the legal, ethical, social and economic issues raised by robotics. Young professionals working for policy makers or industries investing in or developing robotic products.

Course aim

Provide students with a solid background and methodological approach to either:

- enter the market for consultancy services to businesses developing robotic products, or

- undergo independent research in law and technology, or

- understand the non-technological issues to take into account in robotic products design.

Fee info

EUR 600: The cost includes tuition fee, reference material and lunch on class days.


One full waiver will be made available to the student that qualifies first in the admission selection on the grounds of merit.
Other full waivers might be made available pursuant to a discretionary assessment of the Selection Committee, in case existing