10th International Symposium on Experimental Robotics 2006 (ISER '06)

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Rio is nestled between the mountains and the sea. Its magnificent shoreline includes charming bays and beautiful beaches, dotted with islands up and down the coast. Few cities in the world manage to get together, in such a natural way, the ingredients to create a special place to live. Beaches, sun, samba, football, beautiful and friendly people and traditional bossa nova are in the neighborhoods. Rio is all about a stroll at Ipanema or Copacabana Beach, cycling, meeting friends and admiring the sunset. The city's 6 million inhabitants, known as "Cariocas", are friendly, carefree people who always seem to find time for the pleasures of good living. Many hotels are located in the beach districts, especially in Copacabana and Ipanema. Hundreds of restaurants offer a wide variety of cuisines from all over the world. A special treat is Brazil's famous "feijoada", a dish prepared with black beans and pork and served with manioc flour, rice and kale, and the "Churrasco" the must-eat Brazilian barbecue feast!

Some of Rio's great attractions are:

Christ the Redeemer
A modern Swiss-made cogwheel rail climbs through Tijuca Rain Forest up to the top of Corcovado mountain (710 m). It takes about 17 min at a maximum speed of 15km/h on the way up, and 22 min at 12km/h, on the way down. The trip ensures breathtaking views of Rio, such as the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon. At the very top of the mountain, and yet after climbing a steep flight of steps, there stands the statue of Christ, the Redeemer, carved in soapstone mosaic in the finest art nouveau style. Its 38m high and the outstretched arms blessing the city have become Rio's most famous postcard.

Sugar Loaf
Conceived in 1908, by Brazilian engineer Augusto Ferreira Ramos, and inaugurated on October 27th 1912, the Sugar Loaf Mountain cable car celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2002. As the first cable car to be installed in Brazil and the third in the world, it is one of the most important icons of tourism in Rio, and has become one of the city’s trademarks. After the two step climb, visitors will admire the unique beauty of Guanabara Bay, Niterói, Copacabana and Santa Cruz Fortress, a landmark of Rio's history and will certainly be amazed by the awesome views.

Beautiful Beaches
Rio is made of 90 km of white sandy beaches, stretching from Guanabara Bay, in the east, to Sepetiba Bay, in the west. Going to the beach is the most attractive program for the local citizens, so called cariocas. All kind of people, children, teens and old share the same space to get some fun on their free time or during the weekends. Each 20m on the coastline hosts different groups. For example: Arpoador attracts more surfers and Pepê attracts the youth. Some of the most famous are: Flamengo, Botafogo, Copacabana, Leme, Arpoador, Ipanema, Leblon, São Conrado and Barra da Tijuca. Come and enjoy Rio's life style.

The Atlantic Rain Forest
The Tijuca National Park is the largest urban natural reservation area in the world, covering an area of 3.200hec. and sheltering an enormous variety of birds and butterflies as well as "prego" and "sagui" monkeys. It is also home to hundreds of species of wildlife and plants, nowadays only found in the Atlantic Rainforest, many of them threatened by extinction. Its historical attractions and enchanting spots such as "Cascatinha" waterfall, "Mesa do Imperador", the mammoth granite table used for Imperial picnics, and "Alto da Boa Vista" are well worth a visit.

Historical Rio
Rio was the Brazilian capital until 1960 – when Brasilia, the current capital, was inaugurated. Walking through the colonial avenues, squares and back streets one learns about the important historical, political and social events that shaped Rio into South America's most exciting city. Focusing on architectural style, fine examples of Baroque constructions would be the São Bento and Santo Antonio Monasteries, which recall the times when Brazil was a colony of Portugal, or others from the 19th century, as the Municipal Theater, the National Fine Arts Museum, the Candelaria Church, Praça XV and Arco do Telles. Rio has a major artistic life, exhibited on major cultural institutions such as "Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil" and the "Casa França-Brasil".

The Maracanã Soccer Stadium
Considered by many soccer fans as the “Temple of the Gods”, it is one of the largest soccer stadiums in the world. It was built in 1950 to host the World Cup, and it was designed to welcome 166,369 people. Today, after some restorations, it can receive a crowd of 114,145 soccer fans. It is once more under renovation, this time to host the 2007 Pan-American Games.

The Botanical Gardens
The Rio Botanical Garden covers an area of 137 hectares, cultivated with native vegetation. Some of Brazil's existing ecosystems are represented in Rio de Janeiro's Botanical Garden, organized in characteristic settings. Its history begins when the Portuguese Royal Family came to Brazil, in 1808. Prince João VI acquired a piece of land that belonged to Rodrigo de Freitas, and ordered that an acclimatization garden for growing species brought from the East Indies should be immediately built up. It was first called the Royal Orchard, then Royal Botanical Garden. For many years, visits were allowed only when escorted by specialized caretakers. In 1822 though, the Emperor Pedro I has opened the garden's gates to the public.