Robotic Care Assistants and Ethics

ACCOMPANY: Acceptable robotics companions for ageing years – 36 mths (ends September 2014)

AccompanyLogoACCOMPANY aims to develop a roboticcompanion (a Car-O-bot3®) in an intelligent environment (such as a smart home) that can offer physical, cognitive and social assistance to elderly users.

The question of what functions a robot can perform for an elderly person are partly determined by the hardware and software available to the roboticists on the ACCOMPANY team. But there are also inter-related ethical and social considerations.

  • What do the elderly users and their families and carers want and expect from a robotic companion?
  • What are the economic and social policy implications?
  • Which Car-O-bot3® capacities increase or undermine the user’s autonomy?
  • Who should control the robot and receive its information, the elderly user or her family/carers?

Professor Heather Draper (Medicine, Ethics, Society and History) and Professor Tom Sorell (Centre for the Study of Global Ethics) are responsible for the ethical aspects of the development and use of this new robotic companion. They will provide an ethical framework for the use of Car-O-bot3® that will draw on the regular stakeholder interactions organised by ACCOMPANY in four EU countries across the lifetime of the project.

For more information, or to work with us on similar projects, please feel free to contact us:

Heather +44 (0)121 414 6941
Tom Sorell – +44(0)121 414 8443

SeventhFramworkProgrammeLogoThis is a collaborative research partnership of seven institutions lead by the University of Hertfordshire and funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme (FP7-ITC-2011-7).

Total value of project € 4,825,492; contribution to University of Birmingham €265,352