Taru Hakanen
May 9, 2023

Safety First with multi-purpose robots!

There are more and more multi-purpose robots (“MUROs”) emerging in AGV and mobile robot markets e.g.:

- Internal logistic and manipulation: Transportation of items & people detection (Agilox), item transportation & robot arm/cobot (Fetch Robotics, MiR, Omron)

- Last mile deliveries: Food delivery & people flow analysis (Telia’s Omron platform)

- Professional cleaning: Cleaning & disinfection (Gaussian Robotics, Nilfisk), cleaning & shop shelf scanning (Tennant)

- Inspection and surveillance: Quadruped robots with gas sensors, thermal cameras, laser scanners etc. (Anybotics, Boston Dynamics, VTT)

Thus, there are many ways to build MUROs. One way is to combine a mobile robot platform and a collaborative robot “cobot” on the top of the platform in which we focused in our recent study. However,while developing new MUROs, also new safety risks may emerge. Still current standards as well as safety engineering and risk assessment methods cover mobile platforms and cobots separately. In the white paper, we identified central MURO related standards and identified potential new emerging risks that mobile platforms with cobots may cause.

The most demanding and the most risks causing scenario is that both the mobile platform and the arm are simultaneously in move. Then, stability of the platform may be compromised especially in slopes and curves and the extended and moving arm may cause collisions. Items in the arm may cause risks if falling down or colliding into humans. Driving speeds and safety distances need to be adjusted according to the new mass of the entity, stopping distances and the arm’s reach.

Whether a MURO operates on a restricted area or among humans naturally affects safety considerations and the relevant standards to be applied.

Have a safe journey while building and using new multi-purpose robots!

Read more in our White Paper written by Timo Malm, Jari Montonen & Taru Hakanen (VTT)

White Paper regarding MURO safety


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