Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Drones and Legal Uncertainties

Jacques Hartmann (Lead / Corresponding author), Eva Jueptner, Samuel White, Santiago Matalonga, James Riordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
214 Downloads (Pure)


Drones represent a rapidly developing industry. Devices initially designed for military purposes have evolved into a new area with a plethora of commercial applications. One of the biggest hindrances in the commercial developments of drones is legal uncertainty concerning the legal regimes applicable to the multitude of issues that arises with this new technology. This is especially prevalent in situations concerning autonomous drones (ie drones operating without a pilot). This article provides an overview of some of these uncertainties. A scenario based on the fictitious but plausible event of an autonomous drone falling from the sky and injuring people on the ground is analysed from the perspectives of both German and English private law. This working scenario is used to illustrate the problem of legal uncertainty facing developers, and the article provides valuable knowledge by mapping real uncertainties that impede the development of autonomous drone technology alongside providing multidisciplinary insights from law as well as software electronic and computer engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Risk Regulation
Early online date3 Aug 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Aug 2022


  • Autonomy
  • Drones
  • Tort
  • Liability
  • artificial intelligence
  • Artificial intelligence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Safety Research


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