Responsible Design and Deployment of Drones Used in Humanitarian Contexts

March 7-8 2017, The Hague Institute for Global Justice (The Hague, the Netherlands)

The rise of drone technology provides great potential for humanitarian aid through the automation of data collection and cargo transportation as examples. The benefits arising from the deployment of drone technologies are seen in multiple and varying humanitarian contexts (e.g. natural disasters, conflict zones, protection of endangered species). However, there is also an outcry that such deployment not only exacerbates an already delicate situation and vulnerable demographic but also presents additional ethical and human rights considerations that cannot be ignored. Given the drastic increase in the use of drones in these contexts, timely development of policy and regulations to guide both the design and deployment is crucial.

This two-day workshop on Humanitarian Drones is an attempt to start this process. The Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR) and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) initiated a collaboration in order to draw attention to the immediate need for policy in this sector and encourage action on the part of policy makers. On the first day, there will be multidisciplinary panels during which experts can discuss and debate about the major issues at play. This provides the food for thought that informs the closed session on Wednesday during which multiple stakeholders begin to draft a formal report. The report will be a follow-up to the 2014 UN OCHA report on the use of drones in humanitarian contexts. It will address the state-of-the-art robotics development alongside the ethical and human rights issues at stake throughout this deployment.

View program here>

Workshop Organizers

Aimee van Wynsberghe, FRR & TU Delft

Noel Sharkey, FRR & University of Sheffield

Nathaniel Raymond, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Faine Greenwood, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative


Irakli Beridze, UNICRI

Andrew Billo, UNFPA

Eelko Brouwer, Wings for Aid

Allison Burtch, UNICEF

Arthur de Crook, RoboValley

Tina Comes, ISCRAM & TU Delft

Jessica Dorsey, PAX

Barry Koperberg, Wings for Aid

Patrick Meier, UAViators

Michael Nagenborg, ITS4land & University of Twente

Giacomo Rambaldi, CTA

Denise Soesilo, FSD

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