Cloud Robotics Law and Regulation

32 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2018

See all articles by Eduard Fosch Villaronga

Eduard Fosch Villaronga

eLaw Center for Law and Digital Technologies; Queen Mary University of London

Christopher Millard

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law - Centre for Commercial Law Studies; Oxford Internet Institute

Date Written: December 21, 2018


This paper assesses some of the key legal and regulatory questions arising from the integration of physical robotic systems with cloud-based services, also called “cloud robotics.” The literature on legal and ethical issues in robotics has a strong focus on the robot itself, but largely ignores any background information processing. Conversely, the literature on cloud computing rarely addresses human-machine interactions, which raise distinctive ethical and legal concerns. In this paper we investigate, from legal and regulatory perspectives, the growing interdependence and interactions of tangible and virtual elements in cloud robotics environments. We highlight specific problems and challenges in regulating such complex and dynamic ecosystems, and explore potential solutions. To illustrate practical challenges, we consider several examples of cloud robotics ecosystems involving multiple parties, various physical devices,and various cloud services. These examples illuminate the complexity of interactions between relevant parties. By identifying pressing legal and regulatory issues in relation to cloud robotics we hope to inform the policy debate and set the scene for further research.

Keywords: cloud, cloud computing, cloud robotics, robots, cyber-physical system, law, technology, policy, human-robot interaction, privacy, data protection, product safety

JEL Classification: K12, K13, K20, K23, K24, K33, K39, K42, L50, 025, 030, 031, 032, 033, 038

Suggested Citation

Fosch Villaronga, Eduard and Millard, Christopher, Cloud Robotics Law and Regulation (December 21, 2018). Queen Mary School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 295/2018. Available at SSRN:

Eduard Fosch Villaronga (Contact Author)

eLaw Center for Law and Digital Technologies ( email )

P.O. Box 9520
2300 RA Leiden, NL-2300RA

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

67-69 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
United Kingdom

Christopher Millard

Queen Mary University of London, School of Law - Centre for Commercial Law Studies ( email )

67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London, EC2A 3JB
United Kingdom


Oxford Internet Institute

1 St Giles
Oxford, OX1 3JS
United Kingdom


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