CTIT University of Twente
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Responsible Design of Drones and Drone Services (NWO/MVI)

Project Number:

Project Manager: Prof. dr. Peter-Paul Verbeek
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Tel.: +31-53-4894460

Project website:


Drones are a new force to be reckoned with in our society, and things are just getting off the ground. These devices can offer enormous benefits. Just think of fire fighting, crowd control or nature management. However, there is still much uncertainty regarding the ethical and legal aspects of the use of drones. Who, for example, is ultimately responsible if a drone wrongly concludes that a fire has been fully extinguished? What about privacy concerns? And in which situations can drones be deployed safely? Scientists working at the CTIT and IGS research institutes at the University of Twente have received a grant of €150,000 from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) to develop a ‘tool’ to link ethical, social and legal aspects to the development, testing and deployment of drones. The researchers hope that this project will form the prelude to a national centre of expertise devoted to this fascinating field. ‘All the relevant expertise is present right here in Twente.’

Throughout society, and in Twente in particular, drones are the subject of tremendous technological advances.

Drones can serve to improve people’s safety and security in all sorts of ways, but they are not without their risks. Not only designers and developers, but also policy makers and insurance companies therefore have a clear need for unambiguous ethical and legal frameworks. This is why UT scientists have launched an interdisciplinary research project to develop a tool that incorporates ethical, social and legal aspects in the early stages of drone development, testing and deployment. Depending on the outcome of the project, the tool may take the form of a workshop, a roadmap or some other kind of instrument. The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has provided a grant of €150,000 for the project, which will run for one year. 

Project duration: 

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Project budget CTIT: 150 k-€ funding

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Involved groups: Philosophy