What is a public mobile robot (PMR)?
A PMR is an unmanned mobile robot — on wheels or legs — that operates at pedestrian speeds in public spaces such as sidewalks, footpaths, bikeways, roadways, malls, airports, hospitals, parks, etc. Electric and efficient, PMRs perform delivery, maintenance, or security tasks. They can be teleoperated or automated and can be integrated with electric goods vans and secure locker systems.
Our blog, “Defining PMRs”, provides a more detailed overview of PMRs in context of ISO 4448.
“Are we doing justice to sidewalk robots?” views PMRs through the lens of emerging legislation in the USA.
What are ISO standards and why care?
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 167 national standards bodies. It brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.
Standards are the distilled wisdom of people with expertise in their subject matter and who know the needs of the organizations they represent – people such as manufacturers, sellers, buyers, customers, trade associations, users or regulators.
The international standards for PMRs (ISO DTS 4448), are still evolving and targeted for completion in 2025. As the originator and global project leader of the ISO 4448 series, the Urban Robotics Foundation (URF) has the unique ability to offer our members a sneak peek to help them anticipate the specific impacts of PMRs on their cities and its people. View the six pillars of ISO 4448 (PDF).
In addition, URF allows its members to input to the evolving standards, potentially changing how PMRs are integrated in their cities.
How do PMRs connect with universal accessibility?
In many cities, pedestrian infrastructure is confronting for people with mobility challenges whether blind, deaf, or confined to a wheelchair.
PMRs that provide delivery services to members of a local community can be a lifeline for some with disabilities.
As importantly, PMRs share the same infrastructural challenges as do many members of the accessibility community. This common cause is one of the core values of the URF — we argue for improved compliance with national accessibility guidelines as a prerequisite to operating licences in cities.