Last update: 4 March 2021


Human-robot collaboration is a widely studied field in research. However, in industry it is adopted at a slower than expected rate.

Collaborative robots need to be safe for interaction with humans. At the same time, they need to be easily programmed by non-experts and operate in an intelligent and adaptive way.

Despite the continuous advances of HRC research, applications are few and are usually downgraded to workspace sharing rather than actual collaborative work.

Taking full advantage of cobots in tasks such as collaborative manipulation of heavy parts, machine feeding or assembly operations has yet to demonstrate tangible results for the industry.

In this workshop we will investigate some of the latest advances in HRC. With the help of robot-willing industry representatives, we will discuss the impediments of cobot adoption in industry. Also, we will investigate the necessary efforts that are needed to unlock their potential.


In this workshop we are going to present the state of the art in HRC and try to unlock its potential for industrial adoption. With a panel of high-profile researchers and industrial representatives, we will discuss what are the needs of the industry and what steps should be made in the research towards efficient, safe and useful human-robot collaboration.

We will also present the challenges in real deployment of robots in different industrial applications, allowing young researchers to exchange ideas and results with senior researchers from both academia and industry, towards the goal of boosting HRC capabilities for the factories of the future.


Zoe Doulgeri
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Novel control schemes for assisting teaching and performing with safety and accuracy in collaborative tasks.

Collaborative robots should be able to learn effectively from human demonstration and be able to generalize and operate in a safe and accurate manner in a shared workspace or with humans in order to perform industrial tasks, like pick and place, collaborative manipulation and assembly. In my talk, I will present some of the latest novel control methods and achievements developed within the CoLLaboratE H2020 project.

Ales Ude
Josef Stefan Institute, Slovenia

Preparation of robot environments for collaborative tasks

Collaborative tasks can only be performed successfully if the work environment is prepared by taking into account the requirements of both a robot and a human coworker. In my talk I will present some new optimization procedures that can be applied to compute optimal workcell layouts for a collaborative task execution. By taking advantage of passive reconfigurable periphery, a workcell can be reconfigured quickly and efficiently.

Alessandro Zanella
Fiat Research Center – Stellantis, Italy

Industrial application approach in Human Robot Collaboration and Research and Innovation Opportunities

The talk will summarize why the industry needs HRC and how it applies it in production lines. We will discuss the limitations arising during the full applicability of HRC and the opportunities for a short- and long-term R&I application.

Sylvain Calinon
IDIAP, Switzerland

Intuitive robot programming from few demonstrations

A wide range of industrial applications can benefit from robots acquiring manipulation skills by interaction with humans. In this presentation, I will discuss the challenges that such learning process encompasses, including the development of intuitive interfaces to acquire meaningful demonstrations, the development of representations for manipulation skills that can exploit the structure and geometry of the acquired data in an efficient way, and the development of optimal control techniques that can exploit variations in manipulation tasks.

Bram Vanderborght
Vrije University, Belgium

Unlocking the potential of industrial human–robot collaboration

Collaborative robotics is a unique technology that with proper management has the potential to improve both the economy and the society while embracing Europe’s values. The presentation discusses the EU-report with a vision on collaborative industrial robotics based on 10 assessment criteria with seven recommendations.

Arash Ajoudani
IIT, Italy

A collaborative robotic approach to next-generation flexible manufacturing

The shift from mass production to mass customization in industrial societies is underway. To respond to the flexibility needs in this new trend, industrial robots must be embedded with advanced locomotion and manipulation skills. In this direction, this talk introduces new thinking and techniques to the development and deployment of mobile robotic manipulators in industrial settings.

Kazuhiro Kosuge
Tohoku University, Japan

Co-worker Robot “PaDY” as an industrial application of pHRI

A co-worker robot PaDY (Parts and Tools Delivery Robot for You) is a robot which deliver a necessary part and a tool to a worker involved in as assembly process in an automobile factory. The robot delivers necessary items to the worker based on a predicted worker’s motion and generated trajectory using a receding horizon method. Several issues will be unveiled through real applications of the robot in the factory.

Pietro Falco
ABB Corporate Research, Sweden

Towards collaborative mobile manipulators

In my talk I will present the work on  future ABB  mobile manipulators and challenges to bring this technology in industrial and service application.

More TBA

Call for papers

We invite researchers to submit short papers (2-4 pages) presenting preliminary results, ongoing works and demos, relevant to the topic of the workshop. The papers will be reviewed by the organizers and acceptance will be based on the quality of the contribution, originality and relevance to the workshop’s topics of interest.

The accepted works will be presented in the workshop with a video presentation and a short live Q&A. The papers and the presentations will also be made available and archived on the workshop’s website.

Topics of interest:

  • Physical Human-Robot Collaboration
  • Shared Control
  • Adaptation and Learning
  • Physical Interaction Control
  • Safe Human-Robot Collaboration
  • Ergonomics
  • Industrial collaborative robots
  • Design, control and evaluation of robotic assistive devices
  • Cognitive aspects of human-robot collaboration
  • HRC applications

Submission information

Format: Short paper in PDF format, using the IEEE template (2 to 4 pages)
Submission: By email at: icra2021@collaborate-project.eu

Please use “[ICRA2021] Contribution – <Name of first author>” for the title of your email.

Important dates

Submission deadline: April 15, 2021
Notification of acceptance: April 30, 2021
Workshop: May 30 or June 5, 2021 (TBD)

As a follow-up of the workshop, the organizers are planning to edit a book on Human-Robot Collaboration, where the invited speakers as well as researchers from selected submissions to the workshop will contribute.


coming soon…


Fotios Dimeas
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Zoe Doulgeri
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Ales Ude
Josef Stefan Institute
Alessandro Zanella
Fiat Research Center – Stellantis


Endorsed by the RAS Technical Committees

Digital Manufacturing and Human-Centered Automation

Collaborative Automation for Flexible Manufacturing

Collaborate Project CoLLaboratE Project
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