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ISO-4448 Update Winter 2024

This is our second public update regarding progress on the draft technical standard DTS ISO 4448 — "Public area mobile robots (PMR)." Bern Grush, URF's Executive Director, is the global lead for drafting this document. URF members have access to the detailed documents and have an important role to play in shaping this open, international standard which we anticipate will be published in stages starting in 2024 and finishing by 2026.

URF's intention for 2024 is to complete technical committee acceptance (ISO TC 204) and subsequent publication of TR 4448–1 and to submit three technical parts for technical committee review, as outlined below. As we approach the final delivery phases for this work, pressure is mounting from the ISO as well as from university researchers and municipal leaders considering deployment and regulation. We thrive on the pressure! 2024 is the time to review these specific drafts most closely.

ISO TR 4448-1 Intelligent transport systems — Public-area mobile robots (PMR)

Part 1: Overview of paradigm

This technical report is the opening summary report for the direction and intent of the draft technical standard ISO TS 4448 parts 2-16. This was resubmitted as a committee draft after Bern did a considerable rewrite in January. The newest draft is on the member portal.

This last rewrite was primarily about formal presentation rules, including dropping images that can be easily described with words. This surprised us but is a very useful rule because a candid photograph often has unnecessary elements that can add unintended nuances in a standards-making context. The net effect of the rewrite is that the document is shorter, with fewer opportunities for unintended messages, and with greater neutrality since the images initially used were of identifiable cities and PMRs.


Next up for Committee Draft Submission is ... Part 16: Safety and reliability for public-area mobile robots. This part has grown to the extent that two critical aspects have now been put into separate documents:

  • Part 6: Journey planning sufficiency for public-area mobile robots. This part defines a speed-relative perception space that ensures a PMR has no blind spots and is not myopic  both things to avoid.

  • Part 9: Journey data recorder for public-area mobile robots. This part is critical to ensure reliable access to pre-crash or near-miss evidence. This has impacts for crash reconstruction (rare, but critical to be prepared), insurance subrogation, software training (ML), licensing renewals, adjustments to orchestration systems, and complaint handling.

Look out for updates to all of these on the member portal.


Over the past few months, URF has had video calls with academic experts from several universities from multiple countries, including Deakin University, King Saud University, Princeton University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, TU Freiberg University, Utah State University, University College London, University of Illinois Chicago, University of Patras, University of Washington, and University of Waterloo. These conversations have included interests in robot-human communication, infrastructure readiness, municipal bylaws, multi-agent optimization, and others. Learning feels near infinite...

Two of these university conversations address particularly challenging issues. One regards crowdsourcing of sidewalk map data so that accessibility maps for the disability community and access maps for PMRs have a common basis, allowing PMRs to help build social maps critical to both communities (related to DTS 4448-13). The other regards PMR-to-Human intention-signalling (DTS 4448-8). When either of these can be shared with members, we will post them on the member portal.


Please contact Bern directly if you would like to contribute expertise or if you have any questions or comments on the ISO-4448.

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