One of the main non-technological challenges for autonomous robots interacting with humans is how to win public trust and acceptance.

A possible solution is offered by the EPSRC-funded project RoboTIPS, in which researchers are developing a device called the Ethical Black Box (EBB). This will be the robot equivalent of an aircraft flight data recorder. The term ‘ethical’ is used because the project’s position is that it would be irresponsible to deploy social robots without such a recorder. Indeed, the purpose of the EBB is to aid accident/incident investigation by ensuring accountability and allowing manufacturers, developers, and researchers to learn from errors. This work will therefore improve the safety of robots overall.

On Feb 9th, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Data Analytics (APGDA) in partnership with the RoboTIPS project held a roundtable in which an open standard on the EBB was presented to robotics experts and policy makers. The standard is open, or publicly available, to elicit feedback and suggestions for improvements.

The roundtable was chaired by APGDA Co-Chair Lord Holmes of Richmond and speakers included Lord Tim Clement-Jones, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence; Professor Marina Jirotka, Professor of Human Centred Computing at the University of Oxford and Principal Investigator of the RoboTIPS project; and Professor Alan Winfield, Professor of Robot Ethics at the University of the West of England, Bristol and co-Principal Investigator of the RoboTIPS project. The EBB open standard is available on