Robots designed to share an environment with humans must fulfil different requirements from those typically met in conventional industrial robots. While the stress in performance is shifted from sheer accuracy to more complex measures, the paramount concern becomes safety of the robot system. "A robot may not injure a human being...", or, to rephrase the famous quote, under no circumstances should a robot cause harm to people in its surroundings, directly nor indirectly, in regular operation nor in failures.
PHRIENDS is about developing key components of the next generation of robots, including industrial robots and assist devices, designed to share the environment and to physically interact with people. Such machines have to meet the strictest safety standards, yet also to deliver useful performance: this poses new challenges to the design of all components of the robot, including mechanics, control, planning algorithms and supervision systems. We propose an integrated approach to the co-design of robots for safe physical interaction with humans, which revolutionizes the classical design paradigm of industrial robots - rigid design for accuracy, active control for safety - into a new one: design robots that are intrinsically safe, and control them to deliver performance.
Although the scope of this STREP proposal cannot encompass the integration of complete robot systems, PHRIENDS will create and deliver new actuator concepts and prototypes, new dependable algorithms for supervision and planning, new control algorithms for handling safe human-robot physical interaction and for fault-tolerant behaviour, and will integrate these components in meaningful subsystems for quantitative evaluation and experimental testing. The project will also importantly contribute to the ongoing effort of international bodies towards the establishment of new standards for collaborative human-robot operation.
Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project
Paris Cedex 16