Artificial Intelligence, collaborative robots & harmonised standards on the agenda


The Machinery Directive Working Group met on 19 and 20 February 2020 to address the revision of the Machinery Directive. The agenda of the meeting was based on the numerous proposals from Members States and stakeholders, especially on new technologies.

Among the main subjects:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The European Commission reminded the future development of a horizontal Regulation on Artificial Intelligence, focusing on high risks, i.e. when AI is used in an exposed sector (e.g. health, transport, energy supply) in such a way that significant risks are likely to arise. For no high risk, it will then be up to each existing specific regulation to address AI.

The target of the revision of the Machinery Directive is to ensure that requirements are technology neutral, but address properly all kinds of technology.

  • Collaborative robots

France informed of a national work under development. Results will be reported at the next Machinery Directive Working Group meeting.

  • Substantial modification

The question was raised in the light of the new technologies. However, the subject appeared to be wider than expected.

  • Digital format of the instruction handbook

The possibility to use digital format, eventually with a summarized paper version to ease the user is still under discussion.

  • Process related to annex IV machinery

For this specific category of machines, some authorities asked for a validation by a third party in any case and to reconsider the list of machines.

  • Mandate for harmonised standards in relation with Machinery Directive

During the meeting no decisions were taken and the revision will go throughout the year:

  • Comments from stakeholders are expected by mid-April
  • A meeting planned with Members States will take place on 14 May
  • A meeting of the new Machinery Expert Group is planned on 9-10 November, with the aim to finalise the draft.

In addition, two important topics for CEMA in relation with the existing version of the Directive were on the agenda:

  • Sprayers: as far as concerned the request from French authorities to have a reference in the safety standard to the European standards dealing with cab filtration. The proposal resulting from the meeting between CEMA and the French authorities in mid-January was satisfactory enough to delete the topic from the pending issues.
  • Visibility on mobile agricultural machinery: French authorities explained this topic was not well covered in the safety standards.

CEMA proposed to let the standard moving forward in the process, so that the text is submitted to an official assessment of the safety consultant, whose task is to ensure the document is in line with the Machinery Directive. So far, there is no a common agreement between the parties and this topic remains still pending.