Autonomous Industrial Machines and the Effect of Autonomy on Machine Safety
Permanent address of the item is
Autonomiset työkoneet ja autonomian vaikutus koneturvallisuuteen
Autonomous machines and vehicles are an increasing part of everyday life and industrial operations. These machines and vehicles have enjoyed rapid technological advancements in recent years, which has led to increasingly sophisticated functions and functionalities. The advancements in autonomous technologies have, however, given rise to questions and concerns relating to the safety of these machines and vehicles, and on how an adequate level of safety can be ensured when no dedicated operator or driver is present. This thesis looks at the main areas that affect the overall safety of autonomous industrial machines and civilian road vehicles, and presents the most prominent challenges faced in ensuring the safety of autonomous applications. The goal of the thesis is to give the reader an overview of the safety-related aspects of autonomy and to show what has to be considered when ensuring an adequate level of safety for autonomous machines or vehicles. This is achieved by an extensive literature review on autonomous applications in both industrial and automotive fields, and on the safety-related aspects of autonomy. Additionally, mining is used in the thesis as an example of autonomous machines in practice and on the challenges autonomy can face in industrial operations. Based on the research carried out, it can be said that the overall safety of machine autonomy is currently hindered by two main aspects: the lack of applicable standards, legislation and guidelines regarding the autonomy of machines and vehicles, and the paradox that arises from balancing the desired level of autonomy with the needed level of safety. This has led to a situation where, in theory, highly complex and sophisticated autonomous machines are possible from a technical standpoint, but they lack a common and thorough method for ensuring an adequate level of safety.