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New paper: Effective Stakeholder Cooperation during the Lifecycle of Robotic and Autonomous Systems

March 31st 2020 - 17:00

New paper out now! Download here.

Robotic and autonomous systems (RAS) upend the traditional relationship between the military and the private sector. While cooperation remains necessary between these stakeholders, the forms it takes must be adapted to fit the RAS development process. 

This paper explores stakeholder relations at various stages of the non-linear RAS life cycle: development, integration, and use. In this framework, development and integration and use are all interconnected, as repeated rounds of testing are used to refine the initial concept in order to produce improved versions. This requires the developer and end user to work together and form consistent feedback loops. Further challenges include the fact that the private sector tends to drive RAS innovation rather than the military, that the life cycle is often fast-paced, and that ethical and legal considerations complicate the demands placed on the system.

In order to address these challenges, the paper offers recommendations for how to manage the RAS life cycle and balance the needs of different stakeholders. These include calling for close communication between stakeholders from the outset of the process, clear delineation of the tasks and duties of each stakeholder, effective testing of RAS in appropriate environments as well as relevant training, integration of new stakeholders internally and externally, and oversight of technological as well as legal and ethical aspects of RAS deployment by end users. These and other suggestions offer developers a path to navigate the new types of cooperative relations that are needed to effectively manage these novel and complex systems.

Download the paper here.

Bianca Torossian is a Strategic Analyst at HCSS. Her studies at The University of Sydney, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Leiden University (The Hague), earned her a Bachelor degree in political science, political economy and sociology, and a Master degree in political science and international organization. For her Master Thesis, Bianca analyzed how the institutional legitimacy of the European Union was impacted by Brexit, and hopes later to reopen this line of research and explore how the nationalistic tendencies of states effect the social legitimacy of multilateral institutions. At HCSS, Bianca primarily focusses on security and diplomacy. A specific area of interest is the field of technology and AI in defense contexts, which ties into a HCSS research project that critically analyzes the challenges and opportunities posed by robotic and autonomous systems in the military. She contributes to a range projects commissioned by the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence.
Frank Bekkers is Director of the Security Program. He studied Applied Mathematics at the University of Amsterdam and spent most of his career at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), specializing in the area of Defence, Safety & Security. At TNO, he held a range of positions, including program manager, senior research scientist, group manager and account director. From 1996-1997, he worked as program manager for Call Media and Intelligent Networks for the telecom company KPN. His current position at HCSS combines shaping HCSS’s portfolio concerning defense and security-related projects with hands-on participation in a number of key projects.