Articles  |    |  October 23, 2017

The Dawning of the Ethics of Environmental Robots

Article by Justin Donhauser & Aimee van Wynsberghe.
Published in Science and Engineering Ethics.


Environmental scientists and engineers have been exploring research and monitoring applications of robotics, as well as exploring ways of integrating robotics into ecosystems to aid in responses to accelerating environmental, climatic, and biodiversity changes. These emerging applications of robots and other autonomous technologies present novel ethical and practical challenges. Yet, the critical applications of robots for environmental research, engineering, protection and remediation have received next to no attention in the ethics of robotics literature to date. This paper seeks to fill that void, and promote the study of environmental robotics. It provides key resources for further critical examination of the issues environmental robots present by explaining and differentiating the sorts of environmental robotics that exist to date and identifying unique conceptual, ethical, and practical issues they present.