Workshop at ICRA 2024

Autonomy in Robotics Surgery: State of the art, technical and regulatory challenges for clinical application

Yokohama, 2024/05/13 – Full day workshop session

Join our full-day workshop on Autonomy in Robotic Surgery at ICRA 2024! Led by experts Paolo Fiorini and Riccardo Muradore, this workshop will dissect the regulatory challenges posed by the AI Act and delve into the integration of autonomous features into surgical robots.

With a lineup of renowned speakers and interactive sessions, anticipate a day of insightful discussions on the state of the art, technical advancements, and the roadmap for the future of autonomous robotic surgery.


Autonomous Robotic Surgery is attracting attention. In parallel, new regulatory standards are being developed in Europe with the recent proposal of regulation of safety critical applications of Artificial Intelligence algorithms. This regulation, called the “AI Act”, requires the continuous human supervision of the application and the possibility of intervening to stop or modify it, should a possible mistake be identified. This requirement goes beyond “Explainable AI” and poses new architectural challenges, since autonomous tasks must be added to the teleoperated surgical robot that must seamlessly switch between the two modes.

Speakers from surgical, industrial and technology areas have been invited to explore the different points of view, and to provide their position statements. Other participants will be gathered through a call for contributions, to present successful examples of autonomy in robotic surgery.

A white paper will be prepared at the end of the workshop on the basis of the discussed points. The paper will focus on the factors that justify the use of autonomous technologies in robotic surgery and draw a roadmap proposal for the development.

Aims and scope

It is a known statement that medical devices must be designed starting from the regulatory requirements, to make sure that all solutions adopted will satisfy, perhaps with minor adjustments, all safety, and certification statements. Research development is not required to follow this path, but to have a chance to include new technologies in future products some attention to regulation must be given. So far, the development of autonomous features in robotic surgery has not paid attention to this aspect, demonstrating functions and capabilities that are not easily integrated into the typical teleoperation architecture of a surgical robot. Furthermore, the recent introduction of the AI Act by the European Commission adds very stringent constraints to the use of AI algorithms in safety-critical applications, such as robotic surgery. In particular, the human supervisor must be able to understand the decisions taken by the algorithms and, if necessary, interrupt or modify such actions.

This requirement has two profound implications; the first implication is that a surgical autonomous robot should not operate unattended, i.e. the robot must preserve its user visual and physical interfaces; the second implication refers to the software architecture of a surgical robot that must allow information exchange between its teleoperation and autonomous parts. The scientific impact of these two implications is evident, since it is not clear how a surgical robot can communicate with its human supervisor/operator, and in which phase this communication/interaction should take place. 

Our workshop aims to address these challenges, not only from the perspective of future applications but also from a scientific standpoint. The discussions will be documented in a comprehensive white paper, organizing contributions in a structured format. To facilitate broad participation, the workshop adopts a hybrid format, allowing experts in regulation, ethics, and communication, who may face constraints attending ICRA in person, to engage actively.

The workshop structure includes four invited sessions covering key themes: autonomy, teleoperation, regulation, and ethics. Each session will feature two speakers presenting the state of the art and recent advances, followed by dynamic 3-minute teaser presentations on innovative applications. General discussions and poster sessions during breaks and lunch will provide additional avenues for interaction.

For those unable to attend in person, the workshop offers Zoom participation, ensuring a global audience can actively contribute to the discussions. The tentative schedule, subject to adjustment for different time zones, reflects our commitment to inclusive participation and engaging discussions. Join us as we explore the forefront of autonomous capabilities in robotic surgery and collectively navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Workshop Main Topics:

  • Autonomy
  • Teleoperation
  • Regulation
  • Ethics

We look forward to a day of insightful discussions, collaborative exploration, and the generation of valuable insights that will shape the future landscape of autonomous robotic surgery.


Pacific Convention Plaza Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan

Time Topic Speaker
08.30 – 08.35 Welcome and Introduction
08.35 – 09.00 Fundamentals of autonomy TBD
09.00 – 09.25 Recent advances in autonomy TBD
09.30 – 09.55 Motivations of autonomy in robotic surgery TBD
10.00 – 10.30 Teaser presentations
10.30 – 11.00 Coffee break & Poster viewing
11.00 – 11.25 Fundamentals of teleoperation TBD
11.30 – 11.55 Recent advances in teleoperation TBD
12.00 – 12.25 Recent advances in cognitive architectures TBD
12.30 – 13.00 Teaser presentations
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch & Poster viewing
14.00 – 14.25 Fundamentals of AI regulations TBD
14.30 – 14.55 The AI Act TBD
15.00 – 15.25 Legal aspects of autonomous systems TBD
15.30 – 16.00 Teaser presentations
16.00 – 16.30 Coffee break & Poster viewing
16.30 – 16.55 Ethics of autonomous systems TBD
17.00 – 17.25 Communication of critical technologies TBD
17.30 – 18.30 Round table and white paper planning


Paolo Fiorini

Needleye Robotics, Verona

Riccardo Muradore

University of Verona

Arianna Menciassi

Scuola Superiore San Anna, Pisa

Elena de Momi

Politecnico di Milano

Gernot Kronreif

ACMIT Vienna

David Vernon

Carnegie Mellon University, Africa

Sara Patuzzo

University of Verona

Alberto Arezzo

University Hospital of Torino

Yunhui LIU

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Russell Taylor

John Hopkins University



Paolo Fiorini –

Riccardo Muradore –