‘The notion that technology is neutral and carries no values is outdated’. TU Delft marked its 174th Dies Natalis with the theme of robotics. When they think of robots at TU Delft, most people will initially consider the technological angle. Philosopher Filippo Santoni de Sio believes that designers, policymakers, legislators, users and academics should together reflect upon the responsible use and design of robots. He makes a case for social dialogue and responsible robotics. Self-driving cars offer us a concrete example of a field of research where automated technology and society meet. Professor of Transport Modelling Bart van Arem and his colleagues not only conduct practical tests to determine when an automated vehicle should switch to manual control, they also examine how other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians will react to a robotic car. He expects that the technology will have furtherreaching consequences, including for the spatial arrangement of the Netherlands. ‘People will be more likely to buy the house in Limburg that they had their eye on, because they can work in their car while travelling to the Randstad’. Last January, the TU Delft Robotics Institute published Robotics for Future Presidents, a book which sees experts introduce the role of robots in tomorrow’s world. All Delft Outlook readers receive 5 euros discount when ordering the book.
Frank Nuijens, Editor-in-Chief