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A Testbed for Evaluation of Speed and Separation Monitoring in a Human Robot Collaborative Environment



Sandor S. Szabo, William P. Shackleford, Richard J. Norcross, Jeremy A. Marvel


Collaborative robots are under development throughout the world that will allow humans and robots to operate in close proximity while performing a variety of tasks. A working group within the International Standards Organization (ISO) is developing the standards to help ensure these robots operate safely. The working group is currently developing ISO/TS 15066 which will provide detailed guidance on collaborative robot operations and safety including speed and separation monitoring (SSM), a form of collaborative robot safety where contact between a moving robot and operator is prevented by limiting robot speed and maintaining an adequate separation distance. The Intelligent System Division (ISD) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is part of the team preparing the SSM portion of technical specification. This report describes a prototype SSM safety system developed by ISD to support testing and validation of methodologies being developed for the technical specification. The NIST SSM safety system implementation uses laser scanners to measure the position and velocity of humans (or any moving objects) within the robot workspace and computes the safe separation distance based on the robot's reported position and velocity. The system issues a stop or restart command to the robot controller depending on a minimum separation distance equation proposed in the in the technical specification.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 7851
Report Number


robotics, manufacturing, safety, tracking


Szabo, S. , Shackleford, W. , Norcross, R. and Marvel, J. (2012), A Testbed for Evaluation of Speed and Separation Monitoring in a Human Robot Collaborative Environment, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 30, 2024)


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Created March 29, 2012, Updated June 2, 2021