IROS Robotics Conference Is Online Now and Completely Free

Join 13,000 online attendees for the world’s largest virtual robotics conference

3 min read
IROS logo
Image: IEEE Spectrum

The 2020 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) was originally going to be held in Las Vegas this week. Like ICRA last spring, IROS has transitioned to a completely online conference, which is wonderful news: Now everyone everywhere can participate in IROS without having to spend a dime on travel.

IROS officially opened yesterday, and the best news is that registration is entirely free! We’ll take a quick look at what IROS has on offer this year, which includes some stuff that’s brand news to IROS.

Registration for IROS is super easy, and did we mention that it’s free? To register, just go here and fill out a quick and easy form. You don’t even have to be an IEEE Member or anything like that, although in our unbiased opinion, an IEEE membership is well worth it. Once you get the confirmation email, go to, put in the email address you used to register, and that’s it, you’ve got IROS!

Here are some highlights:

Plenaries and Keynotes

Without the normal space and time constraints, you won’t have to pick and choose between any of the three plenaries or 10 keynotes. Some of them are fancier than others, but we’re used to that sort of thing by now. It’s worth noting that all three plenaries (and three of the 10 keynotes) are given by extraordinarily talented women, which is excellent to see.

Technical Tracks

There are over 1,400 technical talks, divided up into 12 categories of 20 sessions each. Note that each of the 12 categories that you see on the main page can be scrolled through to show all 20 of the sessions; if there’s a bright red arrow pointing left or right you can scroll, and if the arrow is transparent, you’ve reached the end.

On the session page, you’ll see an autoplaying advertisement (that you can mute but not stop), below which each talk has a preview slide, a link to a ~15 minute presentation video, and another link to a PDF of the paper. No supplementary videos are available, which is a bit disappointing. While you can leave a comment on the video, there’s no way of interacting with the author(s) directly through the IROS site, so you’ll have to check the paper for an email address if you want to ask a question.

Award Finalists

IROS has thoughtfully grouped all of the paper award finalists together into nine sessions. These are some truly outstanding papers, and it’s worth watching these sessions even if you’re not interested in specific subject matter.

Workshops and Tutorials

This stuff is a little more impacted by asynchronicity and on-demandedness, and some of the workshops and tutorials have already taken place. But IROS has done a good job at collecting videos of everything and making them easy to access, and the dedicated websites for the workshops and tutorials themselves sometimes have more detailed info. If you’re having trouble finding where the workshops and tutorial section is, try the “Entrance” drop-down menu up at the top.

IROS Original Series

In place of social events and lab tours, IROS this year has come up with the “IROS Original Series,” which “hosts unique content that would be difficult to see at in-person events.” Right now, there are some interviews with a diverse group of interesting roboticists, and hopefully more will show up later on.


Everything on the IROS On-Demand site should be available for at least the next month, so there’s no need to try and watch a thousand presentations over three days (which is what we normally have to do). So, relax, and enjoy yourself a bit by browsing all the options. And additional content will be made available over the next several weeks, so make sure to check back often to see what’s new.

[ IROS 2020 ]

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