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Our credentials are unique

The Urban Robotics Foundation is the originator and project leader for the ISO draft technical standard 4448. This role fuels our deep understanding of the multiple overlapping city systems and stakeholders impacted by the deployment of public-area mobile robots (PMRs). 

We focus on cities and accessibility

Cities lead the way: they decide whether to reject or permit PMRs (and for what purpose) and all other stakeholders follow. Accessibility –  a city that is livable for everyone – is the overarching goal.

We always present pros/cons

We are impartial, neither for or against PMRs. We present the landscape as complex and nuanced, sharing ways that barriers might be overcome, and allow stakeholders to reach their own conclusions. 

About us,
recent activity

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In this January 2023 article for EIT Urban Mobility, Bern Grush speaks about international deployment and governance standards to preserve the quality of public space in cities where PMRs might be used. Bern underscores accessibility, safety, transparent micro-behaviours, and traffic orchestration as  critical concerns.

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In February, Purdue University Professor Brad Duerstock’s “Grand Challenge” class enjoyed a guest lecture from URF’s Executive Director. Bern outlined the challenges for persons with disabilities and also

the opportunities: mobile robots

able to provide maintenance, delivery, assistive and surveillance services. 

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At the Winter 2023 review of the draft ISO Public Mobile Robot standard, URF members gave valuable feedback on Section 16, focusing on safe deployment including location competence, emergency behaviours, proximate human safety and device seizure. We hosted two Zoom sessions to allow members from all time zones to join!

Robots on City Streets – The Big Questions

We invite member and non-member organizations to sponsor this engaging introductory workshop for their clients and colleagues. A fee applies.

Download PDF - workshop overview.

Contact us for more information.

Distilling relevant expertise

By opening the ISO 4448 draft standards to input from members, we bring municipal, safety,

accessibility, planning, robotics and logistics expertise to the discussion. Although opinions may

vary, alignment is always possible when the shared goal is safety and shared accessibility.

Educating a broad audience

We are eager to share our message beyond our membership. To request a URF spokesperson to

participate in interviews, podcasts and panels, please contact us.

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Bern Grush, Executive Director of URF,  leads a workshop.

Bern’s Speech at UN Global Forum for Road Traffic Safety sums up the core issues for PMRs in cities.

Bern Grush
Bern Grush

Bern Grush (Executive Director) is an author, researcher and consultant with expertise in the areas of mobility and automation and how innovative technology might be regulated, governed, socialized, and deployed. After completing a BSc in Human Factors Psychology (U of T), he earned his MSc in System Design Engineering, from the University of Waterloo.

Lee Haber

Lee Haber (Engineering Director) loves transportation and cities. With degrees in civil engineering and urban planning, he puts these loves and skills to work at URF as a key drafter of the ISO 4448 standard. His frequent travels in the world’s great cities bring him continuous
insights into pedestrian infrastructure.

Lee St. James

Lee St. James (Managing Director) is passionate to explore how social robots can help reduce social isolation and slow cognitive decline among older adults. This passion and her years of tech-savvy business, marketing,  and digital transformation experience contribute tremendous value to our membership and communications priorities.

Andy Manahan

Andy Manahan (Board Member) has over two decades of experience in the development and construction. He brings an extensive network and a deep understanding of regulatory reform,
government procurement and infrastructure investment solutions.

Michael Roschlau 

Michael Roschlau (Board Member) is a strategic adviser in public transit and urban mobility. Dedicated to efficient and effective public transit, he most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA).

Edona Vila 

Edona Vila (Board Member) is a Partner with BLG, Canada’s largest national law firm. Her product litigation and regulatory practice is focused on the liability of emerging classes of regulated connected products including Automated Vehicles and Internet of Things.

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