Robots: Humans' Dependable Helpers

Research and Development in Robotic Systems

Safe Workplace Monitoring

© Fraunhofer IFF
© Fraunhofer IFF
© Fraunhofer IFF, Dirk Mahler

Flexible Manufacturing through Safe Human-Robot Interaction

Development in the manufacturing sector is moving toward maximum flexibility, high throughput and wide diversity of variants. This necessitates adaptive manufacturing systems that obtain maximum efficiency. One basic element of adaptive and flexible manufacturing is human-robot interaction and cooperation. Mobile robots transport workpieces and even robots for machining during manufacturing and share the workspace with humans. Manipulators and robots handle, machine, assemble and measure workpieces without being separated behind a protective barrier. This enables humans and robots to optimally apply their individual strengths optimal (humans' flexibility, complex assembly, rapid reaction when operations change or deviate; robots' payload, repetitive accuracy, precision) and eliminates the strict spatial separation of articulated arm robots and humans.

Safety is the fundamental prerequisite for human-robot interaction and cooperation in flexible manufacturing. Humans must be definitely protected from injury. Reliably detecting people and their movements in a robot's workspace is particularly challenging and requires complex multisensor systems.

In the project, methods and technologies are being developed, which reliably detect objects such as people in a robot's workspace and enable the robot to react appropriately. This requires establishing effective dynamic safe areas as a function of the robot's position and its concrete work step.

Scanning the workspace and human-robot interaction make it possible to analyze workspaces, detect potential collision and hazards for humans and check the safety of the robot's path planning before it executes movements. The integration of VR and AR technologies will allow conducting diverse tests with different scenarios.

Workspace Monitoring with Stationary and Mobile Sensors for Human-Robot Interaction and Cooperation

  • Development of the system architecture for safe workspace monitoring including all sensor system componentsConfiguration of a multisensor system for safe workspace monitoring
  • Holistic modeling of the non-physical attributes of the embedded systems relevant to safety
  • Integration of augmented reality technologies in workspace analysis

The joint project ViERforES is being funded as part of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research's IKT2020 program focused on Virtual and Augmented Reality and supported by the project sponsor Software Systems and Knowledge Technologies at the the German Aerospace Center.