Autonomy & Transportation

Self-driving vehicles. Advanced manufacturing. Flying taxis. Human-centered technologies.

These breakthroughs and more are within our grasp, but there are many challenges in achieving safe and reliable autonomous systems and transportation infrastructure. Here at The Grainger College of Engineering, we have researchers, center, facilities and academic programs pushing the limits and making our dreams of autonomy, efficiency and safety a reality – in the lab, in our skies and on our roads, bridges, rails and waters.

Partners and Facilities

Illinois researchers are hard at work on the future of autonomy, and forging academic and industry partnerships. The Grainger College of Engineering and its facilities are dedicated to supporting and enabling the breakthroughs born from their projects. 


The Center for Autonomy enables high-impact research and develops new educational programs for students and professionals. The Center plays an important role in designing innovative systems that can function autonomously, or without human intervention, in a safe and reliable way.

I-ACT is a real-world testbed for applications in transportation that will offer a range of settings and environments under which to test emerging technologies for several modes of transportation. 

ICT steers the development and implementation of cost-effective mobility technologies, improves safety and reliability, reduces congestion and minimizes environmental impacts while returning taxpayers’ dollars.

The Illinois Robotics Group is an interdisciplinary group that coordinates and grows robotics research, education and facilities across campus. Supported by the Center for Autonomy in the Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL), the group specializes in bringing engineering, computing and design principles to life in intelligent machines.

IRL research spans a diverse range of topics, including robot learning, motion planning, computer vision, mechatronics, verification, agricultural robotics, legged robots, soft robots and more.

RailTEC is a global leader in practical and theoretical research advancing the field in a broad range of important and timely railroad and rail transit engineering and transportation topics.

Advanced research investigations are underway in railway safety, systems and infrastructure, to address topics essential to maintaining the safety, efficiency, reliability sustainability and resiliency of railroad freight and passenger transportation.

Trans-IPIC is a Tier 1 University Transportation Center (UTC) working to develop solutions for transportation infrastructure challenges by innovating precast concrete-related technologies that are durable, climate-adaptable, safe and economic.


Featured Projects


Safety is paramount in an autonomous world: when traveling, we expect to arrive at our destinations safe and sound, even at high speeds and inclement weather conditions. Grainger Engineering researchers focus on projects like vehicular safety networks and C2E2 nonlinear hybrid verification engines to ensure safety by leveraging advanced techniques like AI.

Learn more about safety projects like DryVR and ARSimplex.

Systems and Algorithms

Illinois engineers have dedicated their work to researching algorithms for the advancement of autonomous systems to mitigate error where human lives are involved. Human-centered autonomy and cooperative trajectory generation contribute towards the development of intelligent vehicles, robots and communications between humans and machines

Learn more about projects in this area from the Distributed Autonomous Systems Lab and the ICON lab

Vision and Monitoring

Our researchers are innovating autonomous systems that observe and analyze the world around them. From aerial robots designed to monitor construction, to creating vision systems that easily learn and adapt new tasks and environments, and even improving autonomous driving technologies to better recognize lane makers and road signs, Grainger Engineers are developing autonomous devices that better interact with the world.