Empowering robots with human-level intelligence represents one of the ultimate goals of robotics research. With increasing levels of autonomy for medical robotics, the regulatory, ethical and legal barriers imposed give rise to the need for careful consideration of different levels of autonomy, as well as the context for use. Science Robotics recently proposed 6 levels of autonomy for medical robotics:

  • Level 0: no autonomy. This level includes tele-operated robots or prosthetic devices that respond to and follow exactly the user’s command.
  • Level 1: robot assistance. Here the robot provides some mechanical guidance or assistance during a task whilst the human has continuous control of the system.
  • Level 2: task autonomy. The robot is autonomous for specific tasks initiated by a human.
  • Level 3: conditional autonomy. At this level, the system generates task strategies, but relies on the human to either select from among different strategies or to approve an autonomously selected strategy.
  • Level 4: high autonomy. At this level, the robot can make medical decisions, but under the supervision of a qualified doctor.
  • Level 5: full autonomy (no human needs to be in loop) as a “robotic surgeon” that can perform an entire surgery. 

The purpose of this workshop is to address the technical, regulatory, ethical and legal considerations for increasing levels of autonomy. In this workshop, we also aim at exploring the interaction between abstract and practical levels during a highly cognitive activity such as surgery. Starting from the review of today’s understanding of cognitive robotic surgery, we will further discuss the specific research challenges related to surgical workflow and process modeling, address its commercial perspectives, and the possibilities of its effective deployment in clinical practice.  

Keynote Speakers (in alphabetical order)

  • A Discussion About Possible Definitions and Implementations of Medical Robot Autonomy
    Jocelyne Troccazz, French National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris, France
  • Quantitative Neurodynamic Modelling of Team Performance in Complex Surgery
    Marco Zenati, Harvard University, MA, USA

Confirmed Speakers (in alphabetical order)

  • Welcome - Paolo Fiorini, University of Verona, Italy and Guang-Zhong Yang, Imperial College London, UK
  • Learning and Autonomy in Neurosurgery - William T. Couldwell, University of Utah, UT, USA
  • Surgical Workflow Analysis for Autonomy - Pierre Jannin, University of Rennes, France
  • The Shift in Responsibility during Robotic Surgery - Andreas Müller, University of Bern, CH
  • Instruments for Surgical Autonomy - Giuseppe Prisco, MMI Micro-instruments for Surgical Interventions, Italy
  • Smart Surgical Tools - Azad Shademan, Intuitive Surgical, USA
  • Surgeon-Patient Trust and Surgical Autonomy - Bruno Siciliano, University of Naples Federico II, Napoli, Italy
  • Robotic Surgical Assistants: A Three Way Partnership Between Surgeons, Technology, and Information - Russell Taylor, Johns Hopkins University, MD, USA
  • Introducing Autonomy to Medical Robots - Gurvinder Virk, Standardization, UK
  • The Shift in Responsibility During Robotic Surgery - Stefan Weber, University of Bern, CH

Topics to be covered

  • Levels of autonomy - challenges and opportunities for macro- and micro-scale deployments
  • Knowledge- and Model-Based Surgery
  • Perception – Interpretation - Action
  • Semantics for robotic surgery
  • Learning and adaptation
  • Automation and context-aware surgical assistance
  • Surgical skill assessment and the role of the training in robotic surgery
  • Surgical workflow analysis and monitoring
  • Regulatory, Ethical, and Legal Considerations

Workshop Co-chairs

  • Paolo Fiorini, University of Verona, Italy
  • Guang-Zhong Yang, Imperial College London, UK

Local Organizers

  • Andrea Fontanelli
  • Hanifa J.A Koguna

Sponsored by:



Event date: 
Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 14:45