Nonlinear Control Design for Advanced Vehicle Systems

Ioannis Kanellakopoulos
Department of Electrical Engineering
University of California, Los Angeles

Rapid advances in computing and communications are making it possible to introduce more and more autonomous capabilities in vehicles operating on the ground, in the air, in space, at sea, and even underwater. These capabilities can be utilized to enhance the performance and safety of individual vehicles as well as to operate vehicles in formations for specific purposes.

In order to realize this untapped potential, control must play a central and critical role. In this context, control includes not just the algorithms themselves, but also the sensors and actuators that connect the computers to the physical system. This talk will describe recent research in the Adaptive and Nonlinear Systems Laboratory at UCLA (, which has been focusing on several aspects of the autonomous vehicle problem, ranging from the purely theoretical to the very applied. A focal point of this research is the creation of theoretical tools for nonlinear control design, which address practical issues of interest in real-world applications, such as significant nonlinearities, incomplete state measurement, and design objectives that vary from one operating region to the next. These tools are used to create new solutions in applications such as active suspension, steer-by-wire, and driverless operation of commercial heavy vehicles. This control research is complemented by the development of a new ranging sensor technology called IRIS (Intelligent Ranging with Infrared Sensors), and of an advanced environment for integrated design, simulation, and experiment, as well as by the development and fabrication of a unique experimental electric vehicle called SMARTREV (Single-occupant, Multi-sensor, Actively-controlled, Remotely-tracked, Traction-adjustable Research and Education Vehicle), which is being used as an experimental platform for research on autonomous vehicles and for student class projects on systems design.