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WELCOME MESSAGE TO THE VIRTUAL RO-MAN 2021 CONFERENCE

30th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication

Organizing Committees Leadership:
University of British Columbia and University of Waterloo, Canada
August 8 - 12, 2021

Important Dates
Initial Submission: March 21, 2021
Acceptance: May 25, 2021
Final Submission: June 20, 2021

As we write this in the fall of 2020, the world is in the grip of a pandemic that shows no definitive sign of abating, although there are hopeful indications in many countries. This year's RO-MAN conference that was meant to be held in Naples was held virtually, transformed by a resourceful organizing committee who responded quickly and expertly to bring our research community a great conference under very difficult and unprecedented circumstances.

We do not know what the summer of 2021 will bring in terms of global travel restrictions, local gathering norms, and personal desires to risk venturing from our respective bubbles. Given the uncertainties, we have decided to hold this conference virtually. But no matter the format, the Organizing Committee for RO-MAN 2021 is committed to delivering a rich and dynamic conference. We therefore welcome all of you to participate, to learn, to teach, to network, and, in the words of our province’s Health Officer Dr. Bonny Henry, to be “kind, calm and safe”. Even though you can’t journey to the original venue of Vancouver, BC, take a moment to soak in the geography, our Vancouver and Waterloo campuses, our summer weather, and the spirit of our people in photos, videos and other media, and you will appreciate why this is a great country to live and work. We hope to be able to share it with you, even if not in real life, then vicariously and in spirit.

The theme of our conference is trustworthiness and cooperation. We chose this term well before the pandemic put the world on edge and added a new reason for us to question our own personal safety when in the company of others. But what about in the company of social robots? What would cause us to trust, or not trust, them? How do we as researchers create that feeling, that critical component of any relationship? With social robots, it is of course largely in our power to design the physical form, the control code and the interface software to maximize trustworthiness, facilitate cooperation and enhance the quality of human-robot interaction. This theme also touches upon people's expectations and perceptions of robots, as well as other social, cognitive and cultural factors that will influence human-robot interactions. We will have a special session/track on this topic, invite targeted submissions and include plenary speakers who are specialist in this area. We sincerely hope that this focus will help enlighten the design-thinking of all of us as we fabricate and program our own various systems.

We wish you a productive year ahead, whether in your labs or working remotely, and look forward to a fantastic RO-MAN conference in the summer of 2021.

Respectfully,

Mike Van der Loos, Stephen Smith: General Chairs
Kerstin Dautenhahn: General Co-Chair

Find out more about Vancouver here.