The automation of complex handling and assembly operations can be achieved by the introduction of industrial robots, computer-controlled and equipped with simple tactic sensors. A difficult problem in such robots are emergency situations when a defective component part is encountered. The lack of the capability for an automatic emergency recovery is a serious limitation of the present industrial robots. The purpose of this paper is to investigate and illustrate these emergency situations and the problem of emergency recovery, and to propose a solution by suitable software. It is also pointed out that some features of Artificial Intelligence programming languages are suitable for solving this problem in an industrial robot. The problem of suitable software for such robots is then approached on the basis of the obtained results implemented on a UNIVAC 1108 computer, by simulating the behaviour of a SIGMA robot.