FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

(last updated Sept 30, 2020)

More Questions? Email: [email protected]



Q1. Will IROS 2020 be virtual?

A1. (07/07/20 Answer:) The IROS 2020 Organization Committee (OC) continues working towards a traditional in-person conference. We are on-schedule and on-target. As of early July 2020 health and travel concerns, limitations and uncertainties remain. The OC recognizes these. With about 4-months remaining until IROS, the OC is closely monitoring the situation including: international and US-based flight availability, quarantine orders, visa processing, university/institutional travel restrictions, and Nevada state's phased reopening progress. In late June 2020, the OC began studies on pivot plans (e.g. virtual, hybrid, etc). The OC will thus announce, no later than early September (Labor Day in the US, 7-weeks before IROS) the final format of the conference e.g. live/in-person, virtual, hybrid, etc.

A1. (09/12/20 Answer:) The in-person event is cancelled. This was announced to authors and contributors via email on 09/07/20. Thanks to authors' and contributors' pre-recorded video talks, IROS On-Demand is being created. This will be an easy and intuitive interface to access IROS content anytime, anywhere, and with any device. IROS On-Demand will be released 10/25/20 with a 1-month minimum run-time.

A1. (09/30/20 Answer:) Adding to the above answers, IROS On-Demand registration is free. This was announced to authors and co-authors via email on 09/23/30 and followed with announcements to the public. All accepted papers will also be freely published on in the Proceedings and IEEE XPlore.

Q2. Will there be refunds for Conference Registration if it goes virtual?

A2. (07/07/20 Answer:) Yes. Should IROS pivot away from an in-person format (e.g. virtual) and after budgetary evaluation, registration cost differences will be refunded. The OC anticipates providing more details no later than early September.

A2. (09/12/20 Answer:) The answer remains yes. Now that IROS has pivoted to an On-Demand format, we are updating our budgetary evaluations. The OC anticipates providing details on registration cost and related refunds no later than early October. We appreciate your patience!

A2. (09/30/20 Answer:) Adding to the above, refunds to those who registered on Cvent began 09/28/20. Refunds include any registration fees (conference and/or workshop/tutorials) and a-la-carte items (e.g. extra banquet tickets). Only extra-page fees (if any) will not be refunded. This is due to the extra costs involved in handling papers beyond the 6-page limit. Refunds should be completed no later than early October.

Q3. Do I have to pay full registration when the conference's format (e.g. virtual) remains uncertain?

A3. (07/07/20 Answer:) Yes. Following trends of other conferences, full registration (e.g. $750 for early full registration) is required. There are fixed-costs associated with any conference. Examples include: paper management; proceedings (Paper Plaza, XPlore); and registration. Negotiated costs like: hotel room blocks; food and beverage; audio-visual; signage; session room bookings; and internet providers were contracted (before Covid) and calculated into the full registration rate. If IROS pivots away from an in-person conference, and Force Majeure contract clauses can be invoked, then many of these negotiated costs can be mitigated. But since we remain hopeful for the in-person conference, the full registration rates will ensure we have the budget in-hand to meet contracted services.

A3. (09/12/20 Answer:) Over 98-percent of paper authors have registered (thank you!). We anticipate reduced registration rates due to the cancellation of the in-person format. The balance will then be refunded no later than early October.

For the remaining 100 or so authors, registration is still important to ensure their paper is included in the Proceedings/XPlore. This is particularly important if the IROS paper exceeds the 6-page limit (and thus requires additional handling by Paper Plaza). Additionally, registration ensures your access to IROS On-Demand when it is released on 10/25/20. 09/21/20 was the registration deadline cited in our 09/07/20 email to all authors and contributors. For RA-L and TRO authors, registration is still important to ensure your content is made available on IROS On-Demand.

For authors whose institutions do not let them register (due to restricted travel, etc), please let email [email protected] with your Paper ID and page count.

A3. (09/30/20 Answer:) As of 09/26/20, all accepted papers have been fully registered. As such, they are now being processed for the Proceedings and IEEE XPlore. As such, the Cvent Registration site will be closed and refunds (see A2) have begun. Those who registered on Cvent have automatically been signed-up for IROS On-Demand. For all others, one must sign-up. After signing-up, one can freely access IROS On-Demand content when it goes live October 25, 2020 (00:00 Pacific).

Q4. I typically pay for my travel (to conferences like IROS) on my university/company/institutional account. However, my university/company/institution is not letting staff travel or charge those accounts at this time. What should I do?

A4. (07/07/20 Answer:) Many people share this travel restriction. It remains unclear if these restrictions will continue after August. If they do, these will weigh into the OC's decision on final conference format (e.g. in-person, virtual, etc) to be announced no later than early September.

A4. (09/12/20 Answer:) In an 09/07/20 email to authors/organizers, the in-person format has been cancelled. The IROS 2020 website echoed this cancellation on 09/12/20. Briefly, health concerns, travel restrictions, and limits on the number of people gathering, make holding an in-person IROS impossible.

A4. (09/30/20 Answer:) Adding to the above, this point is now moot; IROS 2020 Registration is now free (see A1 and A2). Additionally, Caesars began refunding conference hotel room reservations (if any) in mid-September.

Q5. I can't get a visa, what should I do?

A5. (07/07/20 Answer:) As of July 2020, many US embassies and consulates remain closed and/or have limited services including visa-processing. For those abroad, it remains unclear if they can enter the US by IROS (flight availability, geopolitical restrictions), and what is required (e.g. quarantines, medical papers). If a visa was traditionally needed to attend a conference in the US, then we suggest you apply as you normally would. Recall visa invitation letters, if needed, are for registered and paid participants.

A5. (09/12/20 Answer:) Please see answer A4 above.

A5. (09/30/20 Answer:) Adding to the above, now that IROS 2020 has moved completely online, this question is moot.

Q6. How do I register?

A6. (07/07/20 Answer:) Please see the Registration & Travel tab on the home page ribbon bar

A6. (09/12/20 Answer:) Answer remains the same

A6. (09/30/20 Answer:) If you already registered on Cvent, you have nothing else to do; you are already signed-up to IROS On-Demand. For all others, one must sign-up. After signing-up, one can freely access IROS On-Demand content when it goes live October 25, 2020 (00:00 Pacific).

Q7. What is IROS On-Demand? How will I present and/or attend?

A7. (09/12/20 Answer:) Authors were asked to submit: (1) their pre-recorded video talk and copyright form; and (2) register. Completing those two things serves as their presentation and the associated paper will be published in the Proceedings/XPlore.

IROS On-Demand is a web-based platform designed to easily access IROS content anytime, anywhere with any device. Given global time zone differences, On-Demand does not use synchronous tools like Zoom or Slack. As such, authors will not be constrained to visit On-Demand at specific times. On-Demand has features like comment boxes, view counts, and like buttons for authors to gage feedback and post answers to viewer questions.

To attend, registrants will be given details in mid-October. On-Demand has features like Search, "Add to my Watchlist", and "More Talks Like This". This frees attendees to view content when is most convenient for them. No live broadcasts (except for maybe IROS Competitions) will be featured on On-Demand.

A7. (09/30/20 Answer:) Please refer to A6 regarding sign-up. The Sign-up page allows one to use their email address as their username. When IROS On-Demand goes live on Oct 25, 2020, one logs in with that username. Having a username allows one to customize their On-Demand experience. Examples including adding talks to their "watch list", providing comments, and choosing to "like" videos.

Q8. I'm not an author (or I'm not the author who registered). But I would like to attend On-Demand. What do I do?

A8. (09/12/20 Answer:) More details (such as registration and signing up) will be released in mid-October, on the IROS 2020 website.

A8. (09/30/20 Answer:) Please see A1 (IROS On-Demand is free) and A6 (need to sign-up).

Q9. What about Workshops and/or Tutorials (WS/T)?

A9. (09/12/20 Answer:) WS/T Organizers are working closely with the IROS Organization Committee. Their content will also be featured on On-Demand as pre-recorded content. Some WS/T Organizers will be conducting live sessions (e.g. panel discussions) but will record it and post on On-Demand. If you registered for a specific WS/T, please contact its organizer for more details. Additionally, if you registered we are re-evaluating budgets and will issue any refunds no later than early October.

A9. (09/30/20 Answer:) Adding to the above, all WS/T (there are over 60 of them) will be free to view. Again, we emphasize that this will be pre-recorded content; there are no Slack, Zoom or other synchronous channels. On-Demand reinforces the approach of accessing content anytime, anywhere and with any device. Feel free to contact WS/T Organizers for more details. These are listed on Workshops and Tutorials

New Questions added 09/30/20

Q10. Why and How is IROS 2020 free? No other IEEE Society has offered their flagship conference (of IROS' size and scale) for free.

A10. IROS is sponsored by four Societies: RSJ, RAS, IES, and SICE/NTF. They made the decision to make registration free. In light of COV-19, free registration would lighten financial hardship and remove barriers to access. The hope is to increase visibility of IROS authors and contributors and the cutting edge of robotics. This would be broaden attendance to those (e.g. government and industry researchers) who may not typically publish and/or attend academic conferences. This would also allow the public and students to access content, especially for those where travel costs are prohibitive. Lastly, the hope is that free registration would foster pride in our four Societies and bring some joy in these times.

We also would like to acknowledge those companies who are exhibiting on IROS On-Demand. Their patronage and partnership helps to offset the costs and make IROS On-Demand free.

Q11. Will future IROS conferences also be free?

A11. It is expected that future IROS conferences will return to in-person formats and thus traditional registration rates. As such, one should not view IROS On-Demand as a precedent. Rather, On-Demand attempts to both showcase IROS 2020 technical work to a wide audience with positive experiences in light of COV-19 restrictions.