Are collaborative robots safe for human interaction?

ISO/TS 15066 could mean barrier-free workspaces for the human and robot system.

By Bob Doyle, Robotic Industries Association

The first solid step toward ensuring the safety of human workers in a collaborative robot system is TS 15066, a technical-specification (TS) document that provides supplemental and supporting information to the industrial robot safety standards ISO 10218-1 and ISO 10218-2, which were published in 2011. This technical specification applies to how humans work with or, rather, how closely they work with the collaborative robot system, specifically.

Collaborative robots actually refer to a robot system, rather than a particular type of robot. With a collaborative robot application, humans and robots can occupy the same workspace at the same time while the system is in automatic mode. There are still safeguards and a risk assessment required, in accordance with the robot system safety standard ISO 10218-1 and -2:2011. For now, the collaborative workspace will most likely be a small defined space with familiar fencing or other safeguards surrounding the rest of the robot.

To learn more about robots, read “ISO/TS 15066:2016 takes a step closer to human-robot interaction” from Control Design.