About ISO/TC 299 Robotics

Robotics has been a core pillar in the manufacturing industry for several decades and is a multi-million Euro industry today. As statistics reveal, growth in the robotics industry continues to be explosive. Since the installation of the first industrial robot in the 1970s, the sector has continuously expanded into new markets and developed new applications. Today robotics is no longer a technology for only manufacturing but has evolved to also address much wider range of applications and domains where a variety of services are provided to different end users.

ISO/TC 299 has the goal to develop high quality standards for the safety of industrial robots and service robots to enable innovative robotic product to be brought onto the market. In addition, ISO/TC 299 has the goal to foster the growth of the robotic market by introducing standards in fields like terminology, performance measurement and modularity. The scope of ISO/TC 299 reads “Standardization in the field of robotics, excluding toys and military applications.”

The standards provide global organizations and individuals with guidance on how to implement robots in best possible way. Value is added to the robot investments by providing clear best practices on how to ensure proper safe installations, as well as providing standardized interfaces and performance criteria.

History of ISO/TC 299

In 1983 the committee started as subcommittee SC 2 “Robots for manufacturing environment” under the Technical Committee ISO/TC 184 “Industrial automation”. The initial efforts were primarily related to industrial safety with some activity in vocabulary and performance. As a result, the title was updated as “Robots for industrial environments”. The title was again updated to “Robots and robotic devices” to include not only industrial robots but also non-industrial robots, which were defined as service robots in 2006. With increased robotic activity, greater visibility was needed for better coordination. This resulted in ISO/TC 184/SC 2 being upgraded to be ISO/TC 299 with the title of “Robotics” in 2016. These changes over the years have reflected the increasing and broadening standardization activities in the field of robotics.

Key definitions (according to ISO 8373:2012 and ISO 10218-1:2011 )

actuated mechanism programmable in two or more axes (4.3) with a degree of autonomy (2.2), moving within its environment, to perform intended tasks

NOTE 1 A robot includes the control system (2.7) and interface of the control system.

NOTE 2 The classification of robot into industrial robot (2.9) or service robot (2.10) is done according to its intended application.

science and practice of designing, manufacturing, and applying robots (2.6)

ability to perform intended tasks based on current state and sensing, without human intervention

industrial robot
automatically controlled, reprogrammable multipurpose manipulator, programmable in three or more axes, which can be either fixed in place or mobile for use in industrial automation applications

NOTE 1 The industrial robot includes:

⎯ the manipulator, including actuators;

⎯ the controller, including teach pendant and any communication interface (hardware and software).

NOTE 2 This includes any integrated additional axes.

NOTE 3 The following devices are considered industrial robots for the purpose of this part of ISO 10218:

⎯ hand-guided robots;

⎯ the manipulating portions of mobile robots;

⎯ collaborating robots.

NOTE 4 Adapted from ISO 8373:1994, definition 2.6.

industrial robot system
system comprising:

⎯ industrial robot;

⎯ end-effector(s);

⎯ any machinery, equipment, devices, external auxiliary axes or sensors supporting the robot performing its task

NOTE 1 The robot system requirements, including those for controlling hazards, are contained in ISO 10218-2.

NOTE 2 Adapted from ISO 8373:1994, definition 2.14.


Both ISO 8373 Robots and robotic devices - Vocabulary and ISO 10218-1 Robots and robotic devices - Safety requirements for industrial robots - Part 1: Robotics are currently under revision with a planned publication in 2021.

Next plenary meeting

The third plenary meeting of ISO/TC 299 will be held virtually 2021-06-14--18. 

The previous ISO/TC 299 meeting was held in Kyoto, Japan, in June 2018, in conjunction with working group meetings.

For further information about future meetings, please see the schedule under News.

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