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For the second straight year, one of the robotics industry’s favorite events cancelled its in-person activities. ROSCon, an event dedicated to the use of the Robot Operating System (ROS) and open-source solutions to advance robotics development, has cancelled the in-person event that was scheduled to take place October 21-23 in New Orleans due to COVID-19.
Instead of the in-person ROSCon, the event is being moved online – ROS World 2021 will take place October 20-21.
The COVID-19 crisis is particularly grim in Louisiana. According to ABC News, Louisiana currently has the nation’s highest case rate, and hospitalization levels, more than 3,000 at last count, are stretching the health system to a breaking point. Other large in-person events have recently been cancelled in the state.
You can read the full announcement from Open Robotics below or visit this ROS Discourse thread for more information.
During difficult times it is always good to remain optimistic; therefore in January, on the heels of multiple announcements about effective COVID-19 vaccines, we decided to move forward with plans to return to an in person ROSCon in 2021. Our plans included contingencies to scale up or scale down ROSCon based on the public health situation; as we were fairly confident that in-person gatherings could be done safely.
While the US has made great progress in the fight against COVID-19 we are once again seeing a massive surge in cases. The situation in New Orleans is particularly grim, and multiple large events such as Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest 3 have recently been canceled due to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases. These cancelations have coincided with the renewal of an emergency declaration for the state of Louisiana. Even with appropriate safety measures in place it simply isn’t a suitable time to gather in large groups in Louisiana. As such we have decided that the most prudent course of action is to cancel the in-person ROSCon.
But, we are still having a conference! Instead of the in-person ROSCon 2021, we will host our second virtual event, ROS World 2021, Oct 20-21! If you were able to attend ROS World last year, you know how engaging and vibrant an online ROS event can be, with thousands of attendees from across the globe. We hope that you’ll join us for ROS World this year!
We’re still coordinating with our sponsors, speakers, and staff to create ROS World 2021. We’ll be releasing more information in the coming weeks as our plans come together. At this point you may be asking how these changes may impact you; here’s what we can tell you right now:
Attendees/Current Ticket Holders: we’ll be reaching out to you in the next few days. We’ll refund / exchange your tickets and work with the conference hotel to cancel your rooms.
Speakers: your talks are important to us and the ROS community – we still want to hear about your progress! Our team will be reaching out to ROSCon speakers to coordinate taking their talks virtual at ROS World.
Workshops: We’re working on a plan to take the workshops on-line and keep the experience engaging. We’ll have more details shortly.
Sponsors: we appreciate your support! We know your priority is engaging with the ROS community. We will work with you regarding your options and sponsorship packages that suit your needs. You should have already received an e-mail with details about the new event.
We’re planning ROS World 2021 as a two-day event; each day starts with a common shared session and then breaks into parallel tracks. The overall program will include most of the planned content from ROSCon. We’re also planning to add some community events to encourage socializing between members of the ROS community. We would love to hear your feedback about what sort of events you would like to see. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We know this is not the outcome we all had hoped for. We truly appreciate everyone’s support and patience as we put together our second virtual ROS World event.
If you have suggestions or general questions please let us know in the comments. If you have a specific issue addressed please e-mail us at email@example.com.