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Eduard Fosch-Villaronga receives the COVR Award

Dr. Eduard Fosch-Villaronga, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Researcher at eLaw, received the COVR award, a 60K seed grant to work on LIAISON, a project aiming to link robot development and policymaking to reduce the complexity in robot legal compliance.

Dr. Eduard Fosch-Villaronga

COVR stands for "being safe around collaborative and versatile robots in shared spaces" and is an H2020 COVR Project is a European project that aims to reduce the complexity in safety certifying cobots significantly. In this respect, the project has developed the COVR Toolkit. This online tool guides developers on their legal compliance process, from helping them find relevant standards/directives/protocols to guide them on how to do a risk assessment.

Since robots widely differ in embodiment, capabilities, context of use, intended target users, and many regulations may already apply to them, having tools such as the COVR Toolkit can be very helpful. However, new robot applications may not fit into existing robot categories, and legislation (private and public policy making) might be outdated and include confusing types. 

In the context of H2020 COVR, LIAISON investigates to what extent we could use compliance tools as data generators for policymakers to unravel an optimal regulatory framing for existing and emerging robot technologies. The goal is to link robot development and policymaking to reduce the complexity in robot legal compliance. 

In this respect, LIAISON will conceive a practical way to extract compliance and technical knowledge from compliance tools that help developers comply with the legislation, such as the COVR toolkit. The goal is to direct this knowledge to policymakers to help them work out an adequate regulatory framing (including change, revise, or reinterpret) that reflect the existing and emerging robot landscape. 

LIAISON aligns with the overall H2020 COVR goal to reduce complexity in safety certifying robots by providing policymakers with the necessary knowledge about legal inconsistencies, new categories, or new safety requirements (including psychological) to update existing frameworks. 

The ideas behind this project were coined during Dr. Eduard Fosch-Villaronga’s Erasmus Mundus Ph.D. Program in Law, Science, and Technology, compiled in the book Robots, Healthcare, and the Law, and further concretized in a postdoctoral research position at the University of Twente together with Prof. Michiel Heldeweg. You can find more information about the theory behind LIAISON in this journal publication and in this book chapter.

If you do not have time to read, you can find here a short explanation of the goals of LIAISON:

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 779966.

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