Building Functional Safety Into Industrial Robotics

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Functional safety is critical to many modern robotic applications and will become more so. In the near future, many robots will run in areas where they interact directly and indirectly with workers, and the tasks they perform will disproportionately relate to production logistics and moving goods for the general public. If a robot malfunctions, there is a risk to the surrounding workers, to product safety, and to public safety. This risk amplifies as robots are increasingly required to handle multiple tasks and navigate crowded environments. So, mitigating safety risks under these conditions will become a fundamental requirement that cannot be addressed without considering security as an integral part of robot design.

This is where functional safety of the underlying software and hardware becomes an essential part of reducing, if not eliminating these risks. The need for more advanced software tools that orchestrate mixed criticality and ensure functional safety within a given system also becomes more apparent. Although robotics vendors want to use opensource solutions for many applications, they need certifiable and functional safety for mission-critical execution.

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