Personal Care Robots

Understanding the Required Safety Standards

Robots are nothing new on the factory floor, handling the repetitive and precise tasks that wear down their human counterparts. But new robots – referred to as personal care robots – are an entirely different type of robot, taking their place alongside humans in their daily activities. They’re being deployed by delivery services to move packages short distances. They’re using sensors and screens to recognize people and exchange information. They’re patrolling the aisles of grocery stores, spotting spills and swooping in to clean them up.

Consumers may not have come into contact with these types of robots yet, but they’re likely to do so shortly. Annual growth rates for personal care robots are predicted at 19% annually through 2024, when it’s expected to reach $10 billion in annual sales as they are installed in both homes and businesses, fulfilling different services for their end users.

While industrial robot standards consider the end user to be a trained person, personal care robots can be used around anyone – trained or untrained. The environment that these robots can be used in is also much less predictable and the tasks of a personal care robot are not as well defined and repetitive like in the industrial world. Thus this requires some very special safety considerations as everyone from a baby to the elderly can now be at risk.

As a consequence, the standards for ensuring they do their work safely are different than those for industrial robots. In this whitepaper, we’ll describe those standards and what manufacturers and businesses need to be aware if they plan to enter this new, rapidly growing market.

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How are personal care robots categorized?

Broadly speaking, personal care robots are designed to improve the quality of life for humans. The International Standards Organization (ISO) developed a standard, ISO 13482, explicitly for such robots and defined three different types:

1 Mobile Servant Robot

A robot that travels as it performs tasks for humans, such as handling objects or exchanging information.

2 Physical Assistant Robot

A robot that physically assists a human to perform physical tasks, supplementing or augmenting the user’s personal capabilities.

3 Person Carrier Robot

A robot that transports humans to an intended destination.

TÜV Rheinland's Services for Robotics

With state-of-the-art laboratories located around the world and an international reputation for excellence, TÜV Rheinland is proud to support your goals for compliance, safety and functionality in the fast-paced robotics industry. Our extensive knowledge and experience in the robotics industry allows our experts to provide services that can boost your company’s competitive edge.

Visit our Resources Page for more robotics whitepapers, brochures, and blog posts.

Accredited NRTL cTUVus Certification

TÜV Rheinland is accredited as an NRTL by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and as a Product Certification Body by the Standards Council of Canada.

Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC

TÜV Rheinland provides market access through testing and evaluation of equipment to harmonized standards, identifying areas of non-conformance through issuance of reports and final certificates.

Functional Safety of Machinery

Functional Safety concepts must be considered throughout a product's entire life cycle, starting from initial concept, to risk assessment, design and engineering, operation and even to decommissioning.

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Testing and Certification

Electric and electronic devices have to adhere to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) guidelines and must bear the CE marking to comply with the EMC directive 2014/30/EU.

Global Internet of Things (IoT) – Wireless Testing and Certification

TÜV Rheinland offers comprehensive services for wireless testing and certification. Leveraging local service and a global network, TÜV Rheinland provides an end-to-end IoT test solution.

Operational Technology (OT) Cybersecurity Services

Intentional and accidental infection of personal assist robots with malware and other cyberattacks is increasing, so it’s essential that industrial networks and systems are tested for cybersecurity vulnerabilities.