Redefining Safety in Light of Human-Robot Interaction: A Critical Review of Current Standards and Regulations

Alberto Martinetti*, Peter Kipruto Chemweno, Konstantinos Nizamis, Eduard Fosch Villaronga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
188 Downloads (Pure)


Policymakers need to consider the impacts that robots and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have on humans beyond physical safety. Traditionally, the definition of safety has been interpreted to exclusively apply to risks that have a physical impact on persons’ safety, such as, among others, mechanical or chemical risks. However, the current understanding is that the integration of AI in cyber-physical systems such as robots, thus increasing interconnectivity with several devices and cloud services, and influencing the growing human-robot interaction challenges how safety is currently conceptualised rather narrowly. Thus, to address safety comprehensively, AI demands a broader understanding of safety, extending beyond physical interaction, but covering aspects such as cybersecurity, and mental health. Moreover, the expanding use of machine learning techniques will more frequently demand evolving safety mechanisms to safeguard the substantial modifications taking place over time as robots embed more AI features. In this sense, our contribution brings forward the different dimensions of the concept of safety, including interaction (physical and social), psychosocial, cybersecurity, temporal, and societal. These dimensions aim to help policy and standard makers redefine the concept of safety in light of robots and AI’s increasing capabilities, including human-robot interactions, cybersecurity, and machine learning.
Original languageEnglish
Article number666237
JournalFrontiers in chemical engineering
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2021


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