Click on “Download PDF” for the PDF version or on the title for the HTML version.

If you are not an ASABE member or if your employer has not arranged for access to the full-text, Click here for options.

Safety Risk Assessment of an Autonomous Agricultural Machine  Open Access

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health. 30(1): 1-15. (doi: 10.13031/jash.15756) @2024
Authors:   Guy R. Aby, Salah F. Issa, Girish Chowdhary
Keywords:   Autonomous agricultural machine, Ergonomics, Machine safety, NIOSH lifting equation, Risk assessment, Standards.


The safety guidelines outlined in ISO 18497 are not sufficient to guarantee the safe operation of autonomous agricultural machines.

Since the risk assessment techniques specified in ISO 12100:2012 require historical failure data of the machine at hand, they cannot be used to effectively mitigate the risk associated with autonomous agricultural machines where such data are not readily available.

Analysis from the perspective of ergonomics can potentially increase the safety of autonomous agricultural machines.

Abstract. The goal of this study was to analyze the safety implications of an autonomous agricultural machine (TerraPreta) using the standards ISO 18497 (ISO, 2018) and ISO 12100:2012 (ISO, 2012), as well as to investigate the ergonomics associated with the use of the autonomous agricultural machine. First, three engineers involved in the robot's manufacturing process were asked to evaluate the robot's functionalities compliance with the applicable safety standards and protective measures outlined in standard ISO 18497 (ISO, 2018). Second, while the robot was planting cover crop seeds, an attempt was made to identify and evaluate every risk connected to the robot using the risk assessment techniques outlined in ISO 12100:2012 (ISO, 2012). (1) Half (50%) of the functionalities of the autonomous agricultural machine complied with the safety requirements and protective measures described within the standard ISO 18497 (ISO, 2018). (2) The heavy reliance on past incident data of the risk assessment procedure described within the standard ISO 12100:2012 (ISO, 2012) makes it ineffective for new and revolutionary technologies such as autonomous agricultural machines where such data are not available. (3) Lifting a bag to fill the robot hopper with seeds was found to be a moderately hazardous activity associated with human-robot interaction. Multiple tentative solutions were provided to avoid this moderately hazardous activity.

(Download PDF)    (Export to EndNotes)