Exploring the Ethical Landscape of Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue

  • Maaike HarbersEmail author
  • Joachim de Greeff
  • Ivana Kruijff-Korbayová
  • Mark A. Neerincx
  • Koen V. Hindriks
Part of the Intelligent Systems, Control and Automation: Science and Engineering book series (ISCA, volume 84)


As robots are increasingly used in Search and Rescue (SAR) missions, it becomes highly relevant to study how SAR robots can be developed and deployed in a responsible way. In contrast to some other robot application domains, e.g. military and healthcare, the ethics of robot-assisted SAR are relatively under examined. This paper aims to fill this gap by assessing and analyzing important values and value tensions of stakeholders of SAR robots. The paper describes the outcomes of several Value Assessment workshops that were conducted with rescue workers, in the context of a European research project on robot-assisted SAR (the TRADR project). The workshop outcomes are analyzed and key ethical concerns and dilemmas are identified and discussed. Several recommendations for future ethics research leading to responsible development and deployment of SAR robots are provided.


Roboethics Search and rescue robotics Human-robot interaction Ethical concerns Values Value sensitive design 



This work is funded by the EU FP7 TRADR project (grant no. 60963).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maaike Harbers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joachim de Greeff
    • 1
  • Ivana Kruijff-Korbayová
    • 2
  • Mark A. Neerincx
    • 3
  • Koen V. Hindriks
    • 1
  1. 1.Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Language Technology LabDFKISaarbrueckenGermany
  3. 3.TNO Human Factors, Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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