Today, machines can communicate with machines and make decisions independently. This gives rise to complex legal issues, for example with regard to the effectiveness or verifiability of the services they provide autonomously; the legal debate surrounding this is only just beginning. The application-oriented research project Industrie 4.0 Recht-Testbed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML will now investigate such scenarios. The Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering ISST , Saarland University, and Ruhr University Bochum are also involved in the project.
In the testbed, engineers will simulate negotiations and the conclusion of contracts made by machines and analyze the relevant legal questions. Lawyers will evaluate the processes on the basis of real use cases, point out legal uncertainties, and give recommendations for action for the development of new legal standards. The project aims to develop specific approaches and tools, model clauses and contracts. This will give SMEs in particular a basis for better assessing any legal risks arising from communication between machines in the areas of civil law, civil procedure law, and IT and data protection law – as is the case today with contracts and negotiations between people.