AI-assisted exploration robots

In the BMBF-funded KIARA project, ITAS is working on AI-assisted robot systems for defense against radiological hazards. The researchers investigate the ethical aspects of the technology and want to develop a blueprint for practical standards.
Foto der ferngesteuerten Robotersysteme
Remote-controlled robot systems of the KIARA project partners. (Source: TU Darmstadt)
Nahaufnahme der ferngesteuerten Robotersysteme
(Source: TU Darmstadt)

During operations, security forces are repeatedly confronted with situations in which they may come into contact with unknown hazardous substances, such as radioactive sources or other (e.g., chemical) hazardous substances. To protect themselves in such cases, emergency forces already rely on remote-controlled robotic systems for exploration.

The researchers working on the KIARA project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), go one step further: They develop modular AI systems for use on mobile robots. These are intended to provide rescue workers with targeted support in the operation and thus assist even better in the rapid exploration and mitigation of hazards.

Research on technology ethics

Researchers at ITAS help shape the design and use of these systems through research on technology ethics. In doing so, they expand the application of AI and robotics ethics to the new field of exploration robotics. The interface between ethics and law also plays an important part in this. The focus is, for example, on how ethical considerations can be translated into practical standards. This involves examining whether planned legal standards are consistent with ethical principles, such as that of transparency, or whether there are ethical aspects that still need to be considered in legislation. The researchers also ask how an ethics of AI can help ensure that such systems are acceptable.

By the end of the project, they aim to present a blueprint for ethical standards for AI-assisted exploration systems. This should be transferable to other AI-assisted robotics applications.

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