The papers in this special section focus on cyber-physical man-machine systems with particular emphasis on situation, activity, and goal awareness deployed in these systems. Recent advances in sensing technologies, the Internet of Things, pervasive computing, smart environments have transformed traditional embedded ICT systems into an ecosystem of interconnected and collaborating smart objects, devices, embedded systems, and most importantly humans. Such systems, often referred to as cyber-physical systems (CPS), are usually human user-driven or user-centered, and are aimed at providing people and businesses with a wide range of innovative applications and services. For example, a “smart home” can monitor and analyze the daily activities of its inhabitants, usually the elderly or individuals with disabilities, so that personalized context-aware assistance can be provided. A “smart city” can monitor, manage, and potentially control all basic city functionalities such as transport, energy supply, and waste collection, at a higher level of automation by collecting and harnessing sensor data across a large geographic expanse. In order to respond in real-time to an individual user’s speciﬁc needs in dynamic and complex situations, and to support ergonomics and user-friendliness through consideration of human factors such as privacy, dignity, and behavior characteristics, cyber-physical human–machine systems need to be aware of the physical environment and human participant behavior. This awareness enables effective and fast feedback loops between sensing and actuation, possibly with cognitive and learning capabilities adapting to participant preferences, capabilities, and the modality of human–machine interaction as well as dynamic situations.