Student: Maria Maragkelli

Project: Non-linear Model Predictive Control for High speed Autonomous Racing

View: Research Poster (PDF)

Institution: Lehigh University

Major: Integrated Business and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Finance

Advisor: Cristian-Ioan Vasile


A large number of studies focuses on developing algorithms for urban autonomous driving, which, albeit their challenging nature, do not account for the fast-changing environment of high-speed conditions. Consequently, this project aims to fill this gap in literature by developing algorithms for autonomous vehicles, able to race at high speeds and avoid collisions with obstacles in their environment. The methods developed during the research will help in increasing road safety under high speed conditions such as emergency vehicle driving. They will, also, impact driver assistance technologies, such as lane keeping, emergency braking and collision avoidance systems. The project follows a two-pronged approach. The first path aims to develop control and perception methods that are applied directly on physical robots. These would implement essential functionality, such as line following and lane detection, that we are currently testing on Anki Cozmo robots. The second one focuses on fundamental control and computation problems. Current method involves implementing non-linear model predictive control algorithms on an ideal vehicle model, without noise or uncertainty. The method is tested in simulation, initially assuming perfect perception, and later with the aid of simulated sensors. Our plan is to bring together these two lines of work with the goal of deploying an autonomous miniature racecar based only on its onboard sensors at high speeds with dynamic and potentially adversarial obstacles.

Maria Maragkellli

About Maria Maragkelli

Maria Maragkelli is a sophomore dual-degree student in the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program (IBE) at Lehigh University. She is a Trustee’s Scholar, on track for degrees in Mechanical Engineering and IBE Finance, with a minor in Data Science. As a member of Dr. Cristian Vasile’s research lab, she is working on developing algorithms for autonomous racing vehicles, that enable them to race at high speeds and avoid collisions with obstacles in their environment. The project will help in increasing road safety, especially under high-speed conditions, a matter that is of great interest to Maria. After her graduation, she aspires to use the knowledge and skills she develops as an undergraduate student to pursue a graduate degree and follow a career in the motorsport industry.