The Institute of Systems and Robotics, based in the University of Coimbra (ISR-UC) is a private, non-profit research institution founded in 1992 with the global purpose of setting up a first class multi-disciplinary research team, able to carry out leading edge research in several important areas of science and technology, with a special emphasis in systems and robotics. ISR promotes advanced multidisciplinary R&D in the areas Mobile Autonomous Robotics, Intelligent Transportation Systems, Search and Rescue Robotics, Robotic Manipulation, Computer Vision, Medical Robotics, Assistive Technologies, Biomedical Engineering, Advanced Industrial Automation Technologies and Intelligent Energy Systems.

ISR was evaluated in 2018 by an FCT international panel with EXCELLENT.  Currently ISR integrates the Associated Laboratory ARISE – Advanced Production and Intelligent Systems. ISR gives special attention to international scientific research cooperation with centers of excellence, as well as to training and education Initiatives.  ISR has also developed strong links with industry, either existing national and international companies, or promoting the creation of spin-offs. Two of its spin-offs Optisigma and Perceive 3D received in 2015 SME AWARDS from the H2020 EU Program. ISR has a strong track-record in the publication in international top journals and conferences, as well as in participation in national and international R&D projects.

ISR-UC is organized in seven Activity Areas with significant scientific and technological synergies:

  • Human-Centered Mobile Robotics
  • Field Robotics
  • Medical Systems and Robotics
  • Computational Intelligence and Control
  • Artificial Perception and Cognition
  • Visual Perception Intelligent Energy Systems

The success of the unit relies on the existing strong collaboration across disciplinary boundaries, which allows the unit to tackle highly complex scientific and technological challenges. Regular workshops stimulate collaboration that will be a key tool for addressing complex multidisciplinary problems and integrating the knowledge towards cognitive systems, as well as knowledge dissemination. Many research proposals and ongoing projects require researchers to take advantage of the complementarity of skills of the researchers and partners, resulting in high quality publications and joint supervision of PhD Thesis. 

ISR has strong interaction with some of the best research centers around the World, participating in large international projects. ISR also participates in networks of excellence in the robotics area and wants to keep organizing scientific meetings at the highest level (e.g. IROS, ICRA, IEEE ITSC, ROMAN). 

The activities in the unit are highly interdisciplinary by nature with strong interaction between the activity areas. Moreover, ISR actively collaborates with the Faculty of Medicine, health institutions and research centers (CNC-Center for Neuroscience, Rehabilitation Rovisco Pais Hospital, IBILI- Optical and Biomedical Imaging and Life Sciences Institute) and a variety of high technology industries.

Training and education activities are of high importance in order to enable cross-fertilization and innovation across disciplinary boundaries. ISR plays an active role in several doctoral programmes and provides experimental and scientific guidance to a large number of MSc students. Furthermore, training and education is a key element for community building and the generation of an open and stimulating culture. The primary training and education activities will be supervision of students and mentoring of postdocs in an everyday basis but also exchange of researchers with high quality research centers in different periods of the year. The existing cooperation with national and international industry (e.g. Google, PSA Group, Efacec power and automation equipment, Portucel paper group, CIMPOR cement group, EDP Electric Utility, National Money Authority Casa da Moeda, Brisa Motorways, Schneider Electric, ABB Corporate Research, and WEG) is planned to be increased with joint projects. ISR also wants to keep promoting technology transfer and the creation of spin-offs associated with the development of research results with a large market potential.

The Institute of Systems and Robotics have been cooperating with IPN-Instituto Pedro Nunes (, a regional technology transfer organization from Coimbra, Portugal. The Vice President of IPN has been for the last 10 years asenior researcher of ISR, ensuring a strong link between ISR and IPN. IPN has a very successful incubator, being responsible for the creation of over 80 companies, and having won the first prize for best incubator at EU level. 

Centre for Mechanical Engineering, Materials, and Processes

CEMMPRE: Group A- Mechanical and Intelligent Manufacturing

CEMMPRE: Group A- Mechanical and Intelligent Manufacturing is mainly focused on:

  • Biomechanics and human mobility;
  • Damage analysis;
  • Industrial management (e.g. production planning and control, supply chains, innovation,
    project and operations management, simulation and optimization modeling, combinatorial optimization);
  • Robotics (e.g. collaborative robotic and additive manufacturing);
  • Inverse analysis; Mechanical behavior and design methodologies;
  • Modeling, simulation, and optimization of forming and additive processes;
  • Joining processes (e.g. conventional and solid-state welding processes).

CEMMPRE: Group B- Materials and Processes

CEMMPRE: Group B- Materials and Processes is mainly focused on:

  • Sustainable manufacturing processes (additive (3D e 4D) and replicative manufacturing, PVD, welding);
  • Surface & interface engineering (e.g. tribological coatings, protection and corrosion resistant coatings, bio-active modified surfaces with antimicrobial activity);
  • Sensors, biosensors, corrosion, bioelectrochemistry;
  • Polymers (e.g. biobased materials, biodegradable);
  • Nanomaterials (3D and 2D);
  • Environmental microbiotechnology (e.g. bacteria-metal interactions, microbiomes and genome mining, biological and synthetic polymers).

Laboratory for Digital and Intelligent Industry (DIGI2)

The SYSTEC-DIGI2 targets the design, implementation and validation of smart components for advanced manufacturing system that introduce intelligence into industrial processes. By implementing a novel Framework related with Cyber-Physical Production Systems, the work carried out at SYSTEC-DIGI2 will contribute to the emergence of the factories of the future.

Targeting added value manufacturing concepts, SYSTEC-DIGI2 is highly interdisciplinary as it spans from the design and implementation of the smart components and supporting services (hardware and software), including the required infra-structures, to the CPPS conceptual frameworks underlying control, data analytics, intelligence and coordination. Currently the SYSTEC-DIGI2 develops research in the following thrusts:

  • Adaptive and smart manufacturing systems for Smart factories, which includes automated operation of the shop-floor, integrated embedded computers, real-time monitoring, adaptive control, autonomous actuation and cooperative machine to machine interaction.
  • Digital, virtual and resource-efficient factories, which includes human-team agile exploitation/analysis of vast amounts of digital information, knowledge management, informed planning and complex simulation and collaborative product-service engineering support.
  • Virtual Factories, which includes connected and collaborative enterprises and highly flexible global supply chains of connected eco-systems.

SYSTEC-DIGI2 is located in the Informatics Engineering and in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at FEUP, in room i124.

Laboratory for Systems Control Optimization and Estimation (LSCOE)

The SYSTEC-LSCOE aims at creating a fertile ground for discussion of research ideas, broaching challenging problems for engineers and mathematicians, and providing scientists with advanced methods and new tools for their research activity. Its main lines of activity are research and training, mostly carried out within the context of SYSTEC-CONTROL thematic line, and involve: The development of dedicated stand-alone estimation, optimization and control algorithms and prototypes for a wide range of applications, and environments such as health care, agriculture, and power systems.

  • The access to advanced software libraries and grid computing infra-structures.
  • Data acquisition and ground truth construction to validate the developed products.
  • Interaction with external specialists and field testing of algorithms and computational packages.

These activities result from the merging of the CEO (Control Estimation and Optimization) group of ISR Porto with new members from a research center at the University of Aveiro, and are supported by external cooperation and networking with highly reputed researchers at national and international level.

The lab facilities include computer equipped workplaces and a server with some of the latest control and optimization software packages.

SYSTEC- LSCOE is located in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at FEUP, in room i202.

Laboratory for Electric Mobility and Renewables (LEMR)

The SYSTEC-LEMR activities are mainly developed within the context of SYSTEC-ENERGY thematic line and involve the development of:

  • Hardware and real time software for power converters and systems control as well as for distributed instrumentation with tele-operation, tele-maintenance and observation techniques for products full life cycle.
  • Test benches for laboratory essay of power converters, batteries, specific components, and systems, namely, EVs powertrain, renewable generation systems integrated into grid.
  • Software tools for power circuits, control systems, electromechanical systems, power systems and grid.
  • Optimization software for power system operation, integrating smart grid technologies and new paradigms using forecast and real-time information.
  • Innovative technologies for electric vehicles and transport systems.
  • Integrated intelligent concepts and solutions for smart building systems.
  • Prototypes of innovative technologies for efficient consumption appliances.

These activities continue the tradition of developments of the IE – Industrial Electronics group of ISR Porto, from which it inherits most of its members and welcomes new researchers working on energy.

LEMR is located in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at FEUP, in rooms i104 and i-115.

Cyber-Physical Control Systems and Robotics Laboratory (C2SR)

The SYSTEC-NET activities, which are mainly developed at the Cyber-Physical Control Systems and Robotics lab (C2SR) and in cooperation with the FEUP Laboratory of Underwater Systems and Technologies (LSTS) encompass:

  • Hardware for unmanned aerial, surface and underwater vehicles for autonomous and tele-operated mode of operations. This includes the design, development, and testing of complex systems encompassing mechanical components, power systems, various types of communications, electronics, sensing, actuators, and onboard and off-board computational systems.
  • Hardware for devices to support autonomous navigation and robust communications for networked devices and operators.
  • Software required for the single mode and networked operation of the unmanned aerial, surface and underwater vehicles for autonomous and tele-operated mode of operations. This includes the design, development, and testing of a chain of software tools comprising command and control systems for the operation of single and multiple vehicles, middleware platforms, disruptive tolerant communication infra-structures, and the vehicle’s onboard software.
  • Lab testing of all hardware devices, software and systems, and integrated hardware and software via simulation, and simulation with hardware in the loop.
  • Intensive field testing of vehicles and systems in standalone and networking modes to meet strict operational end-users requirements.

C2SR is located in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at FEUP, in room i102.