Standardizing an ontology for ethically aligned robotic and autonomous systems

Michael A. Houghtaling, Sandro Rama Fiorini, Nicola Fabiano, Paulo J. S. Gonçalves, Ozlem Ulgen, Tamás Haidegger, Joel LuÍs Carbonera, Joanna Isabelle Olszewska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Domain-specific ontologies support system design and can establish a framework for fulfilling user-level, safety, or ethical requirements. The IEEE 7007–2021 Ontological Standard for ethically driven robotics and automation systems is the first industry standard to introduce a structure of ontologies concerning robot ethics and related fields, such as data privacy, transparency, responsibility, and accountability, offering a systems science approach to support the ethically aligned design of complex cyber–physical systems (CPSs) and robots particularly. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the main ontological commitments composing the foundation of the standard, the rationale behind their development, together with use cases of applications. Future directions for ethically aligned robotics and artificial intelligence (AI)-based systems along IEEE 7007–2021 are outlined, taking into account the exponentially growing fields of service and medical robotics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1791-1804
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2023


  • accountability
  • automation
  • ethics
  • ontology
  • privacy
  • responsibility
  • robotics
  • standards
  • transparency


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