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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access January 1, 2019

Autonomy in surgical robots and its meaningful human control

  • Fanny Ficuciello EMAIL logo , Guglielmo Tamburrini , Alberto Arezzo , Luigi Villani and Bruno Siciliano


This article focuses on ethical issues raised by increasing levels of autonomy for surgical robots. These ethical issues are explored mainly by reference to state-ofart case studies and imminent advances in Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) and Microsurgery. In both area, surgicalworkspace is limited and the required precision is high. For this reason, increasing levels of robotic autonomy can make a significant difference there, and ethically justified control sharing between humans and robots must be introduced. In particular, from a responsibility and accountability perspective suitable policies for theMeaningfulHuman Control (MHC) of increasingly autonomous surgical robots are proposed. It is highlighted how MHC should be modulated in accordance with various levels of autonomy for MIS and Microsurgery robots. Moreover, finer MHC distinctions are introduced to deal with contextual conditions concerning e.g. soft or rigid anatomical environments.


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Received: 2018-04-27
Accepted: 2018-10-12
Published Online: 2019-01-01

© 2019 Fanny Ficuciello, et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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