Mobile robots have been operating in the industry for decades. Recently, they have also entered as service robots on exhibitions, restaurants, hotels and even hospitals.
Operating service robots in an environment, coexisting with humans, is sometimes challenging, since there will sometimes be situations where the robot and humans have conflicting needs and intentions. Normally, this can be solved smoothly, by bi-directional communication, using sound, light, or speech; however, this is not solving the conflict, and a physical collision might occur. Then, the robot's safety system will be enabled, and stop the robot. The safety system contains redundant of safety components in order to minimize the risk for physical injuries due to e.g. a collision between the robot and a human.
However, operating service robots in an environment with elderly people, sometimes with impaired, cognitive, and physical skills, is more challenging. This, both due to the increased risk for safety conflicts, and in addition, the higher risk for irreversible injuries (like a heap fracture), if the person falls to the floor.
Current, international regulations represent the formal requirements to service robot operating in coexistence with human beings. However, these regulations, presuppose that the humans have normal cognitive and physical skills. However, with elderly people, this will rarely be the case. Thus, a standard service robot for use in e.g. restaurants or in the industry, can NOT be considered as safe, if operating in a nursing home.
PPM has 20 years of experience in advanced robotic systems, including certification of systems where robots operate in an open environment together with humans. PPM always includes safety technology, which is certified according to the requiring PLd and PLe standards, in our service robot solutions. This, together with the use of our enhanced risk consideration and mitigation measures, ensures a safe and harmonic coexistence between our service robots and any humans in their vicinity.