Software Engineering for Safe Autonomous Mobile Robots

Safe service and personal care robots have become a new exciting research topic over the last years. However, the close interaction of humans and robots also leads to completely new safety problems, that shall be solved for the acceptance in general.

Physical segregation of robots and humans works fine in a strict industrial environment with stationary robot manipulators but for obvious reasons, such measures are not possible if pHRI (physical human-robot interaction) is required by the robot application and if no intrinsically safe robot design is possible. Safe human-robot interaction during the autonomous operation becomes essential and necessary, but also requires new safety standards.

The request for a new safety standard is followed by the request for a corresponding practical engineering process, especially for the robot software (SW). The existing service robots, both commercial and academic solutions, are mostly designed in a more intuitive way without providing a clear and safety-oriented engineering process for robot design.
In the project, the main focus is on the modeling of the safety case based on the new safety standard ISO/DIS 13482. Combined with a safe multilayer robot software architecture it allows to trace the safety requirements and to model safety relevant properties on the early design stages in order to build a reliable chain of evidence. The introduced engineering processes consist of the Domain Engineering, which is dealing with the development of a set of interlinked formalized safety cases and software components, and Robot Engineering for modeling and designing end solutions for corresponding application. Finally, the proposed engineering process is demonstrated on the example of the assembly assistant robot.


Researchers: Vladislav Gribov, Prof. Dr. Holger Voos.