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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: July 2020

5 - Robot Machines and Civil Liability


The legal consideration of a robot machine as a ‘product’ has led to the application of civil liability rules for producers. Nevertheless, some aspects of the relevant European regulation suggest special attention should be devoted to a review in this field in relation to robotics. Types of defect, the meanings of the term ‘producer’, the consumer expectation test and non-pecuniary damages are some of the aspects that could give rise to future debate. The inadequacy of the current Directive 85/374/EEC for regulating damages caused by robots, particularly those with self-learning capability, is highlighted by the document ‘Follow up to the EU Parliament Resolution of 16 February 2017 on Civil Law Rules on Robotics’. Other relevant documents are the Report on “Liability for AI and other emerging digital technologies” prepared by the Expert Group on Liability and New Technologies, the “Report on the safety and liability implications of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and Robotics” [COM(2020) 64 final, 19.2.2020] and the White Paper “On Artificial Intelligence – A European approach to excellence and trust” [COM(2020) 65 final, 19.2.2020].

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