The use of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) can be effective in addressing challenges created by a shrinking and ageing workforce that support logistical and operational service within commercial buildings. Apart from providing relief in terms of absolute headcount numbers, the use of AMRs will create opportunities to revamp operational procedures within commercial buildings that can deliver breakthroughs in productivity gains.
This guideline evaluates the landscape within which AMRs need to operate when deployed in commercial buildings. Considerations to enable to seamless and efficient use of AMRs in the operations of commercial buildings are discussed. Key focus areas include:
- Use of a robotic management framework
- Extensions to the framework to support heterogenous fleets
- Extensions to the framework to support scene understanding
- Integration with building infrastructure
- Safety function performance levels and safety recommendations
The guideline was jointly developed by three sub-working groups that focused on interoperability, infrastructure and safety respectively. The interoperability sub-working group reviewed the foundational work done by the RMF working group and has built a scene understanding extension to RMF which provides AMRs with added capabilities to navigate through the volatile situations within commercial buildings.
The infrastructure sub-working group worked alongside the robotic industry players to recommend that in addition to the standard being developed by the Singapore Standards Council (SSC) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on the data exchange between robots, lifts and automated doorways to enable autonomous operations, AMRs deployed in commercial buildings can leverage extensions developed to enable communication between lifts and robots that perform time-out handling to address unexpected situations. With representatives from industry consortium, SLECMA, the infrastructure sub-working group also provide guidance on hardware and infrastructure requirements based on their ground-level, practical experience.
The safety sub-working group surveyed existing standards for recommendations on mitigating known hazards and established a list of potential hazards specific to AMR use in commercial buildings not covered by existing standards. Recommendations to mitigate against these hazards are provided. The safety sub-working group also established a set of metrics for the performance levels of particular AMR safety functions as they relate to deployment in a commercial building environment.
Who should read this?
The purpose of this document is to provide guidelines for stakeholders of AMR deployment in commercial buildings, including technology partners, AMR manufacturers, mall operators, retailers, logistics providers, infrastructure owners, and so on.
This will allow multiple services supporting different groups and different types of AMRs to interoperate safely and efficiently within commercial buildings.
Why is there a need for extensions to RMF?
The scene-understanding module not only provides a solution for deployment in crowded, unpredictable areas, the sample deployment use cases documented also demonstrates the extensibility of RMF and highlights opportunities for further development in this area.
How different is the guideline from other robot-related standards being worked or published by the SSC and ESG?
This guideline build upon the standard developed by SSC and ESG, and provides a one-stop guide for commercial building owners, retailers, technology vendors and systems integrators who are planning to be, or are involved in scenarios where AMRs are being used for delivery services in commercial buildings. Existing robot-related standards typically cover concerns localised to the robotic hardware or use in specific controlled environments such as in industrial settings. This guideline provides guidance for AMRs deployed in volatile environments of commercial buildings, addresses issues in heterogenous fleet deployment and in particular, addresses safety concerns that arise from the attachment of transport units to AMRs in order to support substantial payloads.
Who will benefit from this guideline and how?
By referring to the guidelines provided, commercial building owners can design and implement flexible systems that allow the participation of multiple vendors which will provide flexible and cost-competitive solutions while ensuring safe interactions between the different solutions.
Technology partners can leverage the guidelines to ensure that solutions proposed for robot deployments in commercial buildings integrate seamlessly into the eco-system, to improve acceptance rates from the building owners and service users.
Facilities managers, retailers and third-party logistics service providers can refer to the guideline to guide their operations and ensure readiness for safe deployment of delivery AMRs within the boundaries of the commercial property.
Where can we download this guideline after its release?
The guideline will be available for download here.
What are the next steps after the publication of the Guidelines?
As more solutions are implemented in the real-world the working group and IMDA will continue to monitor progress and look for ways to tweak the guidelines based on lessons learnt in practical implementation. Best practices that emerge will be documented and so that they can become the foundation for a Technical Reference.
Will the Guidelines become a TR?
Technical References are pre-cursors of Singapore Standards and they are developed in accordance with the World Trade Organisation’s requirements for the development of national standards. Feedback from industry will help shape the Guidelines and determine its future as Technical Reference.
Whom to share/liaise on further interests for guideline?
For any further queries regarding existing or further plans on guideline, please contact SMF-SDO at http://www.smf-sdo.org.sg/contact-us