Human-Robot Perception in Industrial Environments: A Survey
Perception capability assumes significant importance for human–robot interaction. The forthcoming industrial environments will require a high level of automation to be flexible and adaptive enough to comply with the increasingly faster and low-cost market demands. Autonomous and collaborative robots able to adapt to varying and dynamic conditions of the environment, including the presence of human beings, will have an ever-greater role in this context. However, if the robot is not aware of the
... uman position and intention, a shared workspace between robots and humans may decrease productivity and lead to human safety issues. This paper presents a survey on sensory equipment useful for human detection and action recognition in industrial environments. An overview of different sensors and perception techniques is presented. Various types of robotic systems commonly used in industry, such as fixed-base manipulators, collaborative robots, mobile robots and mobile manipulators, are considered, analyzing the most useful sensors and methods to perceive and react to the presence of human operators in industrial cooperative and collaborative applications. The paper also introduces two proofs of concept, developed by the authors for future collaborative robotic applications that benefit from enhanced capabilities of human perception and interaction. The first one concerns fixed-base collaborative robots, and proposes a solution for human safety in tasks requiring human collision avoidance or moving obstacles detection. The second one proposes a collaborative behavior implementable upon autonomous mobile robots, pursuing assigned tasks within an industrial space shared with human operators.