Rapid technological advancements are giving rise to a new generation of robots that have the ability to perform diverse tasks in open spaces and work with and alongside people. While already a mainstay within industrial and manufacturing sectors, next-generation robots are being utilized in non-traditional settings, such as grocery stores, hotels, airports, banks, shopping malls and public spaces, including sidewalks and parks.
UL has issued UL 3300, the Outline of Investigation (OOI) for Service, Communication, Information, Education and Entertainment (SCIEE) Robots. This is UL’s first consumer and commercial robot certification document that addresses human-robot interaction safety concerns.
The document describes the following requirements used to evaluate robot operational safety:
- Multidirectional mobility
- Fire and shock hazards
- External manipulation
- User classes
- Use surroundings.
Since SCIEE (pronounced sky) robots typically operate near humans, the outline places a priority on the safe operation of robots in a variety of environments where people are present.
“Robot technology and applications are quickly expanding from the industrial and manufacturing segment to public and commercial spaces as well as within homes to assist and improve quality of life for people,” said Michael Sakamoto, senior manager of UL’s Consumer Technology division. “As this trend accelerates, additional safety concerns, including those associated with robot and human interactions, need to be identified and addressed.”
In addition, robots are increasingly showing up in homes. With an increasing number of people living alone, service robots can be a welcome addition to the household. According to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the domestic and professional service robot sector is predicted to grow more than 40% (CAGR) over the next three years. While it’s already a $17.2 billion industry, according to IFR, COVID-19 has pushed aggressive development of solutions to address the pandemic.
With growing interest of robots in all areas of an organization, from brand and marketing and customer experience leadership to business strategists and IT heads, the safe deployment and operation of robots, especially in the public domain, has become a key concern for businesses globally.
“UL 3300 demonstrates how we are addressing the increasing complexities of consumer and commercial robots, as showcased in the active participation and leadership in robot safety standards development, technical committees and industry working groups,” Sakamoto said. “Helping to bring innovative robot technologies to market fast, our teams are poised to work with robot equipment and component manufacturers early in the product design stage to help get ahead of potential safety issues and avoid late stage production delays that impact the bottom line and customer trust.”
The UL Standards division of Underwriters Laboratories is beginning the process of developing a consensus standard using the UL 3300 OOI as the seed document. To apply for participation on the Standards Technical Panel, please contact Deborah Prince, standards program manager, Underwriters Laboratories. To purchase a copy of UL 3300, please visit shopULstandards.com. For more information or to request a quote for evaluation and/or product certification, contact [email protected]