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A Taxonomy of Factors Influencing Perceived Safety in Human-Robot Interaction



Neziha Akalin , Andrey Kiselev , Annica Kristoffersson, Amy Loutfi

Publication Type:

Journal article


International Journal of Social Robotics




Safety is a fundamental prerequisite that must be addressed before any interaction of robots with humans. Safety has been generally understood and studied as the physical safety of robots in human–robot interaction, whereas how humans perceive these robots has received less attention. Physical safety is a necessary condition for safe human–robot interaction. However, it is not a sufficient condition. A robot that is safe by hardware and software design can still be perceived as unsafe. This article focuses on perceived safety in human–robot interaction. We identified six factors that are closely related to perceived safety based on the literature and the insights obtained from our user studies. The identified factors are the context of robot use, comfort, experience and familiarity with robots, trust, the sense of control over the interaction, and transparent and predictable robot actions. We then made a literature review to identify the robot-related factors that influence perceived safety. Based the literature, we propose a taxonomy which includes human-related and robot-related factors. These factors can help researchers to quantify perceived safety of humans during their interactions with robots. The quantification of perceived safety can yield computational models that would allow mitigating psychological harm.


author = {Neziha Akalin and Andrey Kiselev and Annica Kristoffersson and Amy Loutfi },
title = {A Taxonomy of Factors Influencing Perceived Safety in Human-Robot Interaction},
editor = {Springer Nature},
month = {July},
year = {2023},
journal = {International Journal of Social Robotics},
url = {}