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Calls for EU-Wide Liability Rules for Robots

The growing prevalence of human-robot interactions has led to a need for EU-wide rules to guarantee a standard level of safety and security, members of the European Parliament have claimed. 

According to the International Federation of Robotics, robot sales rose by an average of 17% per year between 2010 and 2014, and by 29% worldwide in 2014 alone. MEPs believe that this fast-evolving field needs to have rules in place, for example to enforce ethical standards or establish liability for accidents.

MEPs have asked the EU Commission to propose rules on robotics and artificial intelligence, in order to fully exploit their economic potential and to provide safety and security measures.

They note that regulatory standards for robots are being planned in several countries, and point out that the EU needs to take the lead on setting these standards, so as not to be forced to follow those set by third countries.

With regards to liability issues, MEPS have stressed that draft legislation is urgently needed, especially in relation to self-driving cars. They have called for a mandatory insurance scheme and a supplementary fund to ensure that victims of accidents involving driverless cars are fully compensated.

They have also asked the Commission to consider creating a specific legal status for robots in the long run, in order to establish who is liable if they cause damage.

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