Innovation Centre Nikola Tesla (ICENT) is a non-profit institution whose function is to enable and accelerate commercialization of new technologies important for the development of Croatian economy. It aims to become the leading Croatian research and development centre particularly in electronics, design, computer engineering, and information and communication technology and related applications that drives the Croatian economy towards competitiveness and sustainability. The strengths and capabilities of ICENT are built trough creation of: path for the scientific community to commercialize results of research, growth in interdisciplinary activities within the community, workspace and infrastructure for proof-of-concept and prototypes development, support to start-up companies to commercialize innovations developed, growth of intellectual property, growth of high-added value businesses and jobs, support of technological competitiveness, adding value to the European technological development thrust.

List of equipment
  • Mobile robot platforms (e.g. ROBOTNIK Guardian, CLEARPATH Husky A200, AndyMark mecanum omni platforms, Pioneer platforms)
  • Collaborative Baxter 2-arm robot
  • Robotic arms (e.g. 2 SCHUNK Powerball arms, 2 KINOVA Jaco arm)
  • 3D perceptive sensors (e.g. VELODYNE LIDAR HDL-32E, VELODYNE LIDAR PUCK VLP-16, KINECT cameras, Thermal cameras, Stereo-vison cameras)
  • 3D mapping sensor (e.g. FARO Focus 3D X 330)
  • Motion capture system
  • Aerial platforms (e.g. AscTec Pelican, Ascending Technologies Neo)
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List of services
  • Enhancing research, development and innovations in the field of robotics
  • Supporting pre-commercial development research of robotic systems for specific applications
  • Mediating between clients and funds that offer funding for intellectual property protection
  • Development of α- and β-prototypes and early stages of the production process
  • Facilitating and accelerating successful commercialization of production prototypes developed at Competence Centre
  • Providing technical and business support to technology startup companies
  • Business and strategic consulting in high-tech and emerging innovation trends in robotics
  • Support in participation in national and international research and development projects in the field of advanced robotic systems in cooperation with businesses and research institutions
Future investments

The Croatian Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) focuses on the following thematic areas - health and quality of life, energy and sustainable environment, transport and mobility, security, food and bio-economy - all supported by ICT and KET innovations. Accordingly, the funds from the ESIF Operational programme competitiveness and cohesion 2014 – 2020 are foreseen:

  • Research, development and Innovation (100 mil €)
  • Centres of competence (105 mil €)
  • Research infrastructure (300 mil €)
  • Support to SMEs (470 mil €)

Horizon 2020 programme is also available for funding. Among these funds ICENT Competence Centre will create its business portfolio based on open public private-partnership investments.

ICENT project for the construction of new building of about 22.000 m2 equipped with infrastructural equipment was included on the List of Strategic Investment Projects of the Republic of Croatia with allocation of 46,5 million € by the decision of the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Croatia from July 27, 2016. Project implementation, granting concessions and issuing administrative acts are covered by Act on Strategic Investment Projects of the Republic of Croatia, which shows the importance of this project for national economy. This project, once implemented (estimated at end of 2018), will enhance ICENT Competence Centre quality of services and regional competitiveness.

Regional ecosystem and business plan

In Croatia, there are more than 800 registered high technology companies. SMEs account for about 99% of the Croatian business sector and they contribute to 50% of GDP. Though they are employing about 60% of the total number of employees they are lagging behind European companies in introduction of innovative products and process innovation within the company. Robots are applied only in fragments and in a very simple business operation or welding. According to economic and demographic criteria of the European Commission, a country the size of Croatian should have at least 2,000 robots. According to the data collected at Croatian Chamber of Economy there are around 170 robots installed mainly in process industry. Hence, it clearly shows that Croatia is greatly lagging behind in technological development.

The existing research and development infrastructure in the field of robotics in Croatia has relatively limited application in the SME sector and industry in general. The competences are mainly kept at the academic research level. ICENT will improve communication between research institutions and the business sector and other stakeholders and create regional innovation robotic ecosystem. Strengths of ICENT Competence Centre are based on the significant knowledge and equipment at ICENT and University of Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing with more than 60 researchers.

Activities of ICENT Competence Centre will strongly affect the overall regional economic development. Other research and development institutions and SME high-tech companies will have the opportunity to collaborate with the Competence Centre on a joint, national and international research and development projects. Industry, SMEs, and in particular "spin-off" companies will be able to use the services of the Competence Centre in the development process of new products and services in the field of robotics. The authorities will be able to use the expertise of the Competence Centre to improve the policy and preparation of technological platforms for manufacturing and service sectors. PhDs students in the field of robotic will be able to continue their postdoctoral activities on development research projects, which are carried out at the Competence Centre.