Autonomous Space Objects and International Space Law: Navigating the Liability Gap

Indonesian Journal of International Law (2021), Vol. 18 No. 3 pp. 423-446

25 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2021

See all articles by Ioana Bratu

Ioana Bratu

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Transnational Legal Studies, Amsterdam Law & Technology Institute

Arno R. Lodder

Vrije Universiteit - Amsterdam Law and Technology Institute, alti.amsterdam

Tina van der Linden

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 28, 2021

Abstract

The introduction of advanced new technologies is transforming the space industry. Artificial intelligence is offering unprecedented possibilities for space-related activities because it enables space objects to gain autonomy. The increasing autonomy level of space objects does not come without legal implications. The lack of human control challenges existing liability frameworks. This paper reviews the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty and the Liability Convention as the main legal documents introducing the legal grounds for attributing liability in case of damages caused by autonomous space objects. Looking at the limitations of these legal frameworks in what concerns the attribution of liability, this paper identifies the conditions that could cause a liability gap. The amendment of the Liability Convention, the concept of “international responsibility” introduced by Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty and several international law principles are analysed as potential solutions for preventing the liability gap and mitigating the risks posed by autonomous space objects.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, space law, autonomous space objects, liability, Outer Space Treaty, Liability Convention

Suggested Citation

Bratu, Ioana and Lodder, Arno R. and van der Linden, Tina, Autonomous Space Objects and International Space Law: Navigating the Liability Gap (June 28, 2021). Indonesian Journal of International Law (2021), Vol. 18 No. 3 pp. 423-446, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3880911

Ioana Bratu (Contact Author)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Transnational Legal Studies, Amsterdam Law & Technology Institute ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, ND North Holland 1081 HV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://https://research.vu.nl/en/persons/ioana-bratu

Arno R. Lodder

Vrije Universiteit - Amsterdam Law and Technology Institute, alti.amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, 1081HV
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://alti.amsterdam

Tina Van der Linden

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Netherlands

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