I recently attended the IEEE Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) conference in Vancouver from the 24th-28th September. This is one of the two flagship IEEE robotics conferences, and it was a great opportunity to be able to attend and present a paper.
Before the start of the conference, I attended a workshop on planning for inspection robots, which is an important application for the work I am doing as part of my PhD. I learned a lot here. The conference itself ran over three days, with up to 19 (!) parallel sessions. There were 6 sessions just on motion and path planning, all of which I found very engaging and interesting. I also attended some sessions outside my immediate research area such as humanoid robots and manipulation. The work I presented, completed in conjunction with the CSIRO, was on motion planning for legged robots and this lead to some interest from other researchers, which was very encouraging.
In addition to just the talks, there were some really interesting keynote and plenary speakers, with a presentation from Amazon Robotics on their robotic warehousing, a particular highlight. The conference banquet was fantastic, and I was lucky enough to meet some PhD students working in very similar areas to myself. During the conference there were also robot competitions such as autonomous drone racing, and many other interesting events. Finally, I attended a workshop on contact-rich robotics which had some very interesting discussions between leading researchers in the area.
After the end of the conference I travelled up to Whistler for a couple of days. The landscape there was absolutely beautiful and spending some time there was a great way to end what was a very enjoyable and engaging trip to IROS.