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Institute of Systems and Robotics

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The Institute of Systems and Robotics - University of Coimbra is a Portuguese private, non-profit Institution dedicated to research in the field of robotics. ISR was created in 1992 with the global purpose of setting up a first class multisciplinnary research team, able to carry out leading edge research in several key areas of science and technology, with a special emphasis in automation and robotics. ISR-Coimbra has three groups featuring strong synergies between them: Automation and Robotics which is the core group, Control Theory and Operations Management.

The Automation and Robotics Group, has activities in the areas of robotics vision, autonomous systems, multi-sensor fusion and integration, tele-operation, sensor development, soft-control and motors and drives. The key objective is too achieve a higher degree of autonomy and robustness of the robotics systems when interacting with an unknown environment. These research results have a large application potential in the factory environment, in assistive technologies for elderly and handicapped people and in dangerous environments. Ongoing projects include the development of navigation systems for mobile robots, autonomous wheelchairs, high-performance man-machine interface for tele-operation, active vision systems for robotics applications, 3D reconstruction of the human eye, new sensors for robotics, vision-based robotic arc welding, development of neural an genetic controllers, and advanced motor drive systems. The group participates in projects and networks involving some of the most outstanding research centers in Europe.

The scientific objectives of the Control Theory Group can be described as follows: to develop fundamental research in the area of systems and control; to communicate the results through scientific publications and participation in major conferences; to establish an appropriate environment for creating interactions with scientists from engineering and other sciences and conduct interdisciplinary research; to develop special programs in control theory, enabling students from mathematics and engineering to obtain interdisciplinary training for working in control and its applications and to increase national and international collaboration with leading institutes and prominent researchers. The main topics of research to be developed by the Control Theory Group are: linear control systems, with particular emphasis in descriptor systems; extension to block matrices of standard results from linear numerical algebra, and its applications in control; stability, stabilization and optimal control for nonlinear systems; relationship between splines (both Euclidean and non-Euclidean) and optimal control; stochastic processes.

Besides technological aspects, the organization aspects of the administration are essential to achieve success, including the production, the financial and the human resources management. The activities of the OM Group - Operations Management Group include (i) the Development of I&D projects in cooperation with industrial companies, that includes projects involving the simulation of production processes and the productive resources optimization, (ii) studies to improve organizational structures and the analysis of new management methodologies, (iii) and the identification of strategies to obtain the empowerment of human resources and organizational efficiency. The OM Group members have been developing research projects with several American and European partners, and this policy will be pursued in the future.