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Standards BEHIND 

ANSI takes a look at some of the standards behind the scenes driving the advancement of innovative technologies and ingenious solutions for global challenges.

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A New Wave of Robotics Supports Lifeguards, Food Banks, and the Visually Impaired


Technophiles may be inspired by the latest robotic breakthroughs: headlines reveal drones will patrol beaches and swimmers, new robotic seeing eye-dogs will aid the visually impaired, and bots will help feed the hungry with food bank deliveries.

Bots on the Beach

New York City mayor Eric Adams recently announced drones carrying rafts will join lifeguards—and beach rescues—as part of a pilot program starting in Summer 2024. The drones, described as “buglike devices” capable of delivering an inflatable float to a swimmer in distress, will aid lifeguards in rescue missions in Coney Island, Brooklyn. The New York Times reports that drone operators control the bots by a “powerful speaker attached to its body” to communicate both with swimmers in trouble and with lifeguards trying to save them.

Drones for Food Delivery

The rescue mission drone is among the latest robotic innovations to make recent headlines. Elsewhere in the U.S., the city of Arlington, TX has announced plans to launch trial drones and wheeled robots for food bank deliveries. The project “aims to test the efficiency and scalability of using autonomous, electric delivery vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while serving residents in need,” CitiesToday reports. The project will conclude at the end of 2025, and routes will be developed to avoid flying over residential areas and high-traffic roads. Ultimately, the drones will help with approximately 300 food box deliveries to residents that need food support.

Robotic Seeing Eye-Dogs

New robotic seeing-eye dogs—an innovation that enhances accessibility for the visually impaired—will serve to address the limitations of traditional seeing-eye dogs. Scientists at Binghamton University at the State University of New York unveiled their creation, noting that the robots will be armed with “navigational maps” for moving through challenging environments, Wired reports. The bots may offer improved cost efficiency and accessibility over actual canines, which are costly and present limitations.

Standards Support Robotic Evolution

As robotic technology serves various industries and uses, standards are essential and support areas including robotics vocabulary (terms used in robot capabilities, devices, and more), general robotics guidelines and applications, and robotics safety, obstacles, and mobility, among others addressed by ANSI members and standards developers.

Some examples include ASTM E2801-11(2020), Standard Test Method for Evaluating Emergency Response Robot Capabilities: Mobility: Confined Area Obstacles: Gaps, which helps quantitatively evaluate a teleoperated ground robot’s capability of crossing horizontal gaps in confined areas. ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International developed the standard.           

The American National Standard (ANS) ANSI/PLASTICS B151.27-2021, Safety Requirements for Robot / Injection Molding Machine Systems, specifies the safety requirements for the design, implementation, setup, operation, maintenance, and modification of robot / Injection Molding Machine (IMM) systems.  A robot / IMM system is comprised of a robot system(s) operating within the volume of the mold area guarding of an IMM. The standard was developed by the Plastics Industry Association, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

The international standard ISO 13482:2014, Robots and robotic devices - Safety requirements for personal care robots, specifies requirements and guidelines for the inherently safe design, protective measures, and information for use of personal care robots. It was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ISO/TC 184, Automation systems and integration, Subcommittee SC 2, Robots and robotic devices. ANSI is the U.S. member body to ISO, and the Electronic Commerce Code Management Association (ECCMA) administers the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to TC 184, carrying U.S. positions forward.

Access more news about robotic innovations and related ANSI member efforts on ANSI’s news site.

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