The European Parliament has voted on a resolution to regulate the development of artificial intelligence and robotics across the European Union. Based on a raft of recommendations drafted in a report submitted in January to the legal affairs committee, the proposed rules include establishing ethical standards for the development of artificial intelligence, and introducing an insurance scheme to cover liability for accidents involving driverless cars.

"The EU needs to take the lead on setting these standards, so as not to be forced to follow those set by third countries," the parliament announced in a statement. The members specifically noted that legislation is urgently needed to manage the speedy introduction of driverless cars in order to legally clarify responsibility in the case of accident.

Not every element in the broad-ranging report was accepted by the Parliament though, with a recommendation to institute a "robot tax" roundly rejected. The robot tax proposal was designed to create a fund that manages the repercussions and retraining of workers made redundant through the increased deployment of industrial and service robots.

Minister Mady Delvaux, who authored the initial report, expressed disappointment that certain coalitions in the Parliament rejected the taxation proposal. "They rejected an open-minded and forward-looking debate and thus disregarded the concerns of our citizens," she said.

But those in the robotics industry were supportive of the Parliamentary rejection, with the International Federation of Robotics suggesting to Reuters a robot tax would have been harmful to the burgeoning industry, stifling innovation and competitiveness.

The European Parliament passed the resolution comfortably with 396 votes to 123, with 85 abstentions.

There still is a bit of a process before any hard and fast laws are established, with the proposals now moving through to the executive branch of the Union, the European Commission. The Commission is not legally obliged to institute the Parliament's recommendations but it must state fair reasons for anything that's rejected.