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Digital Society Initiative

Should robots rescue people?

A video podcast of the DSI and the Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre (SDRC DDPS) of armasuisse Science and Technology addresses the question of why the Swiss Armed Forces could one day also deploy rescue robots and explains the technical, ethical and legal issues involved.

Modern robotics has made enormous advances over the last few years. Robots can be used in an increasing number of areas. As well as in rescue and disaster relief. However, the rescue of people by robots is easier said than done.

The new video podcast of the Digital Society Initiative of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Drone and Robotics Centre of the DDPS is therefore addressing the question: Should robots rescue people? This question will be examined from different perspectives. Markus Höpflinger and Pascal Vörös from armasuisse Science and Technology explain why Swiss security is engaging with this topic at all. Brigadier Stefan Christen, Commander of training unit Engineer/Rescue/NBC, explains which needs the Swiss Armed Forces want to cover with rescue robots. Marco Hutter from ETH Zurich addresses the technical issues that must be answered in the development of rescue robots. Markus Christen from the DSI discusses the ethical challenges involved in deploying robots to rescue people. Finally, Prof. Thomas Burri and Juliane Beck from the University of St. Gallen discuss the legal issues in conjunction with the deployment of rescue robots.

The video podcast shows that only the interdisciplinary interaction of all these areas brings prospects of success regarding whether people can one day be rescued by deploying robots. The podcast is available with English, French and Italian subtitles.

Initial situation - Dr. Markus Höpflinger & Pascal Vörös, armasuisse S+T

Needs on the part of the Armed Forces - Brigadier Stefan Christen, Swiss Armed Forces

State of the art - Prof. Marco Hutter, ETH Zurich

Ethical challenges - PD Dr. Markus Christen, DSI

Conclusion - Dr. Markus Höpflinger & Pascal Vörös, armasuisse S+T