Recently, driverless industrial vehicle products (AGV) of VisionNav Robotics (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. have obtained the CE certificate, in compliance with 2006/42/EC Machinery Directive and the latest standard ISO 3691-4: 2020. This is the first CE certificate for driverless industrial vehicles issued by TÜV Nord Group in China since the release of ISO 3691-4 standard. ISO 3691-4 is now considered to be the “major” standard for driverless industrial vehicles in the European Union. The acquisition of this certification represents that the overall safety performance of VisionNav Robotics products has reached the international level.
As a leading third-party testing and certification agency in the field of industrial robots, TÜV SÜD has always followed strict certification requirements and procedures to provide companies with guidance on technical specifications and safety requirements. At present, TÜV SÜD has provided services to tens of thousands of enterprises in the fields of electrical and electronic, aviation, automobile, medical, food, large industrial equipment, and amusement facilities. The relevant person in charge of TÜV SÜD said that since the release of ISO 3691-4:2020 standard, there are enthusiastic responses in the AGV industry, and many well-known companies in the industry have put the new standard certification on the agenda.
The release of ISO 3691-4 standard is 23 years after the previous standard EN 1525:1997. It is regarded as the "most comprehensive" driverless industrial vehicle standard in the history. With the rapid development of various cutting-edge technologies in recent years, EN 1525 has been unable to meet the safety requirements for driverless industrial vehicles in many complicated applications and scenarios. Based on EN 1525 technical framework, ISO 3691-4, however, in a more comprehensive perspective further improves the safety architecture, expands the safety function requirements, and clarifies various verification methods in a more practical way. From front-end application risk assessment and analysis, safety system hardware architecture, software safety design, safety function testing and field implementation, and many other aspects, the new standard provides authoritative design guidelines for the new generation of driverless industrial vehicles.
Mr. Liang Weijie, a safety design expert in charge of CE certification project for VisionNav Robotics driverless industrial vehicles, mentioned that under the MD Directive (2006/42/EC), ISO 3691-4 has become the only international standard for driverless industrial vehicles. As a TÜV SÜD Functional Safety Professional (FSP), Mr. Liang has been engaged in safety design for the past 12 years. He has participated in many internationally renowned theme park projects, Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong-West Kowloon high-speed railway station project and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge connection sections in Hong Kong project, and the design and implementation of various safety-related complex control systems.“The most challenging part of the new standard is how to seamlessly integrate various safety monitoring functions with the Braking System Control", Mr. Liang said frankly, there are more requirements in ISO 3691-4 regarding the risk points and operation modes, and the items involved are more detailed, specific and comprehensive, including:
1) SRP/CS Safety Level. SRP/CS safety architecture of EN 1525 only focuses on one dimension of Category following EN 954 standard. ISO 3691-4 uses the safety design methodology of ISO 13849-1/2 (replaced EN 954 in 2006), and provides more comprehensive guidelines for safety function design in the five dimensions, namely Structure, Reliability, Diagnosis, Resistance and Process.
2) Verification. Compared with the single functional test verification in EN 1525, ISO 3691-4 puts forward more logically from the five aspects with more detail requirements: Design Check, Calculation, Inspection (visual or audible), Measurement, and Functional test.
3) Control System. EN 1525 divides the control system into 10 safety classifications. While ISO 3691-4 provides more detailed regulations for each classification on this basis, and clearly add the requirement of two types of safety functions: Automatic and Manual, Maintenance Modes and Braking System.
"For hard technology area such as industrial robots, technology is the throttle and safety is the brake." Dr. Li Luyang, CEO of VisionNav Robotics, described the position of safety design. Li also introduced that the promotion of CE certification this time is not only the pursuit and understanding of VisionNav Robotics for the safety design of driverless industrial vehicle products, but also the actual concerns of the users. "We have a well-known foreign-funded enterprise customer in Guangzhou, who attach importance to autonomous forklift safety design." he added, "Although it is just a simple operation of storage into the finished products warehouse, the high value of each pallet and the human-machine collaborative environment make merely one safety accident cause millions of losses. At present, the project has been in operation safety for nearly a year, and the second phase of cooperation is under discussion."
Driven by Industry 4.0 and Made in China 2025, new technologies, new racing, and new opportunities are happening every day. In hard technology industry, especially in rigid demand scenarios closely related to industrial manufacturing, security is always a topic that cannot be bypassed. It is also the basis for large-scale replication after the commercialization of the new technologies. VisionNav Robotics is stepping up the deployment and continue to introduce more products that meet the industry's advanced standards, and promote the large-scale application of driverless industrial vehicles in and outside China.
About VisionNav Robotics
VisionNav Robotics (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. was founded in 2016 by a team of doctors from The University of Tokyo and The Chinese University of Hong Kong. It is the world’s leading driverless solution provider for smart warehouses and automated material handling system. It is committed to providing enterprises with intelligent and safe driverless industrial vehicles and flexible material handling solutions. The co-founding team of VisionNav Robotics is led by Professor Liu Yunhui, the Choh-Ming Li Professor of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Director of the CUHK T Stone Robotics Institute. Their technical talents have deep research and major project experiences in vison perception, visual motion control, robot AI algorithms, 5G, including graduates from world-class universities, as well as former core members of R&D teams from Qualcomm, Disney, Emerson, DJI, Tencent, and Zoomlion.