Responsible Innovation

Vision + Robotics connects governments, sector organisations and companies from the start of a project in interdisciplinary teams to incorporate not only economic, but ethical, environmental, and social opportunities and challenges. By focusing on user-centric design, fair business models, and by tending to ethical values throughout development, we help to achieve what we call Responsible Innovation.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics offer real opportunities to make the agrifood sector smarter, more efficient and more productive. But do you know if your product or service design is good for nature, society, and has a sustainable and fair business model? Addressing these concerns during the innovation process’ early stages leads to more effective AI and robotic applications, improved user acceptance and adoption, and fair value for all stakeholders involved.


Innovation was traditionally confined to the lab, where technological engineers would develop new technology until they deemed it market-ready. However, this approach came with the risk of technology failure when it reached the market, resulting in a loss of time and money invested. To improve user acceptance and adoption of new innovations, whether for B2B or B2C users, it is better to involve them from the beginning. Although it may be time-consuming initially, a user-centric, lean approach that includes end-users throughout the development process can ensure digital product acceptance in the markets.

This approach is particularly beneficial in radical innovation, where a new product is introduced without a clear market question. By introducing a Minimal Viable Product and testing its features and assumptions with end-users, then iterating based on their feedback and continuing to develop until a market-ready product is achieved, we can significantly increase adoption of AI and AI robotics.

Fair Business Models

With fair business models we go beyond economic benefits, nature-inclusivity and social welfare, to make sure that the value being proposed by an innovation is perceived as fair by all stakeholders. Wageningen Economic Research has developed hands-on models and tools that can offer guidance to companies wanting to implement fair business models. We provide insights on the agrifood sector, how the market works, and give ideas about business model innovations that allows a sustainable growth.

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Ethics is a relatively new, but very important discipline in agrifood AI and robotics. Vision + Robotics researches ethical and societal values of potential end-users of new technology during its development. We analyse possibilities to attend to these values in the further design of the technology, or in the development of an implementation trajectory.

In case studies and workshops throughout Europe with AI and robot developers, we explore the kinds of issues that they came across within their job and within the development process of robotics. Four main themes emerge:

  • Privacy: for instance, how to make sure data is not leaked and how to abide by General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?
  • Security: what to do about concerns surrounding hacks or access to data by third parties?
  • Autonomy: how will AI and robotics change the role and values of farmers?
  • Non-maleficence: how do we ensure that agricultural robots do no harm to their surroundings, both in a physical, but also a psychological and social sense?

Our area of expertise lies in methods that consider the ethical and societal implications of innovative technologies. We draw concrete conclusions from analyses to assist innovators in moving forward.

As part of the NWO-funded ELSA Lab project, Vision + Robotics offers governments, sector organisations and companies the knowledge, insight and tools to identify ethical and social dilemmas surrounding AI and robotics - early in the design process – and to engage in dialogue with end-users and other stakeholders. We help identify existing and future market opportunities for socially- and ethically-responsible agrifood AI and robotics.

Want to know more?

Want your robotics to be well received by the agrifood sector ? Contact us for an informal talk.