Transportation WISER


To conduct basic and applied research along the pathway to advanced and sustainable transportation systems.


  • Develop novel navigation and control systems for transportation (cars, high-speed train, and airplanes)
  • Integrate sustainable energy including energy storage in transportation systems
  • Conduct research on autonomous transportation systems including research on safety, monitoring, and fault detection and isolation
  • Develop more efficient hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) drivetrains and power electronic converters
  • Develop clean and efficient utilization/combustion of alternative fuels in transportation systems

For more information, contact Zongzhi Li.

  • 2019: “Driver-Assistance and Human-Automation Interface Design for Energy Efficient Semi-Automated Hybrid Electric Vehicles.” PI: Baisravan HomChaudhuri (MMAE), Co-PI: Tomoko Ichikawa (ID)
  • 2014: “Using Psychology to Train Technology with Power-Assisted Wheelchairs.” PI: Mahesh Krishnamurthy (ECE), Co-PI: Eun-Jeong Lee (PSY)
  • 2014: “Quantum Chemistry-based Determination of Oxidative-Aging Pathway of Asphalt and Development of Bio-Based Sustainable Solutions.” PI: Tongypan Pan (CAEE), Co-PI: Jeff Terry (PHY)
  • 2010: “Facilitating Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Integration Through Multidisciplinary Research and Partnership on V2G Topologies and Building the Case for Development of a Market Simulation Tool.” PI: Alireza Khaligh (ECE), Co-PIs: Navid Sabbaghi (SSB), Vivian Weil (Ethics), Abdellatif Miraoui (University of Tech. of France)

Laura Forlano (DSGN): Urban informatics, driverless and autonomous transportation systems

Carrie Hall (MMAE): Dynamics of high-efficiency engines

Ron Henderson (ARCH): Driverless and autonomous vehicles

Lulu Kang (MATH): Statistical methodologies

Mahesh Krishnamurthy (ECE): HEV/EV; automotive powertrain/thermal management; energy storage; autonomous vehicles/robotics

Zongzhi Li (CAEE): vehicle fuel consumption, crashes, noise pollution, air emissions; traffic congestion

Boris Pervan (MMAE): Navigation systems, autonomous vehicles, fault detection and isolation

Francisco Ruiz (MMAE): Internal combustion engines, diesel injection

Mohammad Shahidehpour (ECE): Power system operation and control, sustainable energy integration in transportation systems

Leon Shaw (MMAE): Li-ion and Na-ion batteries, hydrogen storage materials for fuel cell vehicles

Matthew Spenko (MMAE): Autonomous vehicle localization safety

Qing-Chang Zhong (ECE): Power electronics, motor drives, storage systems, and power architecture for electric vehicles, high-speed trains, more-electric aircraft, all-electric ships, transportation electrification

Selected Current Projects

PI: Carrie Hall (MMAE)

This project deals with examining methods of enabling efficient and clean transportation through the implementation of high-efficiency internal combustion engine concepts and engines that leverage alternative fuels as well as the use of hybrid electric powertrains. While these systems have the potential to greatly improve vehicle efficiency and emissions, their more complex dynamics require more advanced control methodologies. This research group at Illinois Tech focuses on studying the dynamics of high-efficiency engines and developing control methodologies that can enable them to be viable in production vehicles. In addition, they also explore the influence of fuel properties, hybridization, and additional vehicle-to-vehicle sensor information on the performance that can be achieved in modern vehicles using more advanced control algorithms.

PI: Matthew Spenko (MMAE)

The objective of this research is to ensure the integrity of vehicle position, heading, and velocity estimates that are used by self-driving cars as the basis for life-critical decisions such as the initiation and execution of hazard-avoidance maneuvers. Integrity, which is a measure of trust in a sensor's information, has been successfully implemented in commercial aircraft to guarantee the safety of maneuvers such as landing. This project addresses several obstacles in translating integrity from aviation applications to self-driving cars, including integrating the disparate sensor types used by ground vehicles; meeting the stringent demands of routine autonomous driving; accounting for the number, proximity, and high relative velocity of other vehicles on the road; and evaluating multiple, distinct, and mutually exclusive courses of action in a timely manner. Project subtasks include characterization of integrity for representative sensors, construction of appropriate models for uncertainty propagation, and experimental validation of the resulting integrity framework. The project will advance the larger research effort to realize the potential of self-driving cars for relieving congestion, reducing emissions, and saving lives.

PI: Matthew Spenko (MMAE), Co-PIs: Boris Pervan (MMAE), Ron Henderson (ARCH)

This research project will investigate how to reshape twentieth-century transportation infrastructure (such as highways, intersections, roads, and sidewalks) for the twenty-first century so that it may accommodate autonomous vehicles while addressing the needs of the entire community. To do so, it will explore trade-offs between three key elements: safety, usability, and aesthetics. It will then propose a suitable balance between these elements by developing a framework for reshaping the existing infrastructure. The resulting framework will serve to inform city planners, architects, and landscape architects how to plan and design cities in which autonomous vehicles safely interact with humans, and it will serve to educate roboticists on how to ensure that the technology they are developing has a positive societal impact.

PI: Qing-Chang Zhong (ECE)

Power systems are going through a paradigm change from the current power systems dominated by electric machines to the next-generation smart grid-enabled by power electronics. Millions of active, intermittent, non-synchronous, variable, and distributed energy resources and flexible loads are being connected to power systems through power electronic converters. This brings an unprecedented challenge to grid stability and reliability. The electrification of transportation is making this even more challenging. To address this challenge, Illinois Institute of Technology is pioneering a synchronized and democratized (SYNDEM) framework for next-generation smart grids, which enables all power electronics-interfaced suppliers and loads to behave like virtual synchronous machines (VSM). As a result, they can seamlessly integrate with the grid and actively maintain grid stability, following the synchronization mechanism of synchronous machines that has underpinned the operation and growth of power systems for more than 100 years. This will significantly reduce/defer the infrastructure investment on transmission and distribution networks, reduce the required reserve, release the communication infrastructure from low-level control, enhance cybersecurity, and open up the prospect of achieving autonomous power systems. The objective of this project is to establish a large-scale real-time simulation facility to further advance the research, education, training, and outreach activities of Illinois Tech in the next-generation smart grid while benefiting some neighboring institutions and outreaching Chicago-area high school students and others.