Safe human-robot interaction

Short description of the project

The main research at the IOSB is the monitoring of the robot's environment. This task includes both close-range monitoring, to detect suddenly occurring threats that are located at a short distance from the robot, and long-range monitoring, where a larger time horizon and a larger distance range is considered, in which threats are to be detected and predicted. Especially the detection of stationary and moving obstacles in unstructured environments is of interest for the robot's path planning. In order to ensure the highest possible safety, the monitoring concept merges the information from different types of sensors. Sensors mounted on the mobile robot as well as sensors permanently installed in the room are used for this purpose.

Project goals

SAPHARI is the safe cooperation of humans and robots. All essential aspects of a safe and intuitive physical interaction of humans with complex humanoid robot systems are addressed. For this purpose, key components for perception and cognition will be developed and validated, enabling robots to track, understand and predict human movements in a weakly structured, dynamic environment in real time. Safety issues are addressed by means of biomechanical analyses, human-friendly hardware design, and control of the forces generated by physical contact.

The developed methods are demonstrated in three application cases. In two industrial application examples a mobile robot with manipulator will perform its manufacturing tasks in a common workspace with humans and other robots. In addition, the robot will work in direct physical contact with a human. In a hospital application, a robot will assist during operations.


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In the industrial environment, future challenging tasks can be efficiently mastered if they are solved through the cooperation of human-robot teams. A prerequisite for this is that the robot must perceive the human being and react to his actions. The Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, Systems Engineering and Image Exploitation (IOSB) has developed a method for such close human-robot cooperation:


Department MRD of Fraunhofer IOSB

You want to learn more about our projects in this area? Then please visit the page of our MRD department and inform yourself about further projects.


Further Information

Project duration: Nov 01, 2011 – Oct 31, 2015

The project has been funded by the European Union (7th Framework Programme, grant agreement ICT-287513).

Project coordinator: Sapienza Università di Roma