Exploring inclusion in UK agricultural robotics development: who, how, and why?

Ayris, KJ, Jackman, A, Mauchline, A and Rose, David Christian (2024) Exploring inclusion in UK agricultural robotics development: who, how, and why? Agriculture and Human Values. ISSN 1572-8366

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The global agricultural sector faces a significant number of challenges for a sustainable future, and one of the tools proposed to address these challenges is the use of automation in agriculture. In particular, robotic systems for agricultural tasks are being designed, tested, and increasingly commercialised in many countries. Much touted as an environmentally beneficial technology with the ability to improve data management and reduce the use of chemical inputs while improving yields and addressing labour shortages, agricultural robotics also present a number of potential ethical challenges – including rural unemployment, the amplification of economic and digital inequalities, and entrenching unsustainable farming practices. As such, their development is not uncontroversial, and there have been calls for a responsible approach to their innovation that integrates more substantive inclusion into development processes. This study investigates current approaches to participation and inclusion amongst United Kingdom (UK) agricultural robotics developers. Through semi-structured interviews with key members of the UK agricultural robotics sector, we analyse the stakeholder engagement currently integrated into development processes. We explore who is included, how inclusion is done, and what the inclusion is done for. We reflect on how these findings align with the current literature on stakeholder inclusion in agricultural technology development, and suggest what they could mean for the development of more substantive responsible innovation in agricultural robotics.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Responsible innovation, agricultural robotics, stakeholder inclusion, semi-structured interviews, emerging technology ethics
Divisions: Agriculture, Science and Practice
Depositing User: Users 51 not found.
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2024 17:41
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2024 17:41
URI: https://rau.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/16731

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