Syllabus — Spring 2024

Updated 1/14/24.

1 Course Staff

InstructorProf. Mohamed-Ali Belabbas
Engineering Teaching Lab SpecialistDan
Teaching AssistantsKaiwen Hong
Jooyoung Hong
Charlie Ray
Haina Lou
Chuyuan Tao
Jiaming Zhang

2 Time and Place

2.1 Lecture

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30pm-1:50pm, in ECEB 1013.

2.2 Laboratory

Labs will be held in ECEB 3071. Labs will start the second week of class.

For up to date information on labs as well as the section dates and times, check out the lab website:

2.3 Office Hours and Homework Party

Office hours and Homework Party (group office hour and study session) information are available on the Office Hours page.

3 Course Description

Robotics is in a period of rapid growth. This course will cover the fundamentals of modeling, perception, planning, and control, that you need to enter the field confidently. This course will introduce you to standard modeling and control techniques as well as modern ways of thinking about robotics that are rooted in engineering and physics. Consistent with these ways of thinking, this course will place a strong emphasis on fundamentals.

4 Prerequisites

You must be willing to code in MATLAB, python, and in C++. You must be willing to use analytical tools drawn from linear algebra, differential calculus, and basic probability theory.

5 Reference Texts

[required] Modern Robotics, Lynch and Park, Cambridge University Press, 2017
– authors’ site (free version, video lectures):
– publisher’s site: Cambridge University Press

Supplementary material will be made available with the posted lecture notes on the Schedule and Extras page.

6 Grading

  • Exams = 30% (15% each)
  • HW = 20%
  • Labs = 25%
  • Final= 25%
  • Project = Not mandatory, an extra 5%.

More information about each of these items is provided in the course content section below.

7 Course Content

7.1 How to get the most out of the class

To get the most out of this class, we expect active participation. Some ways to get involved: being active on piazza/discord, helping others in office hours, providing interesting insights or discussion points, contributing in class, etc.

I highly recommend you use the homeworks as a way to study for exams.

7.2 Homework

Most (if not all) of the homework will be on Gradescope.

Homework will be due on Fridays at 11.59pm CT.  No homework assignments will be dropped.
For one week after the deadline, you may submit a late assignment for up to 50% credit.

7.3 Exams

There will be two exams throughout the semester, and a final.

Dates for the exams are posted in the important dates tab.

7.3.1 DRES Accommodations

If you have accommodations identified by the Division of Rehabilitation-Education Services (DRES) for exams, please send your Letter of Accommodation (LOA) to the CBTF here.

7.4 Laboratory

You will attend weekly laboratory sessions. Attendance is required, unless a written explanation is obtained from the emergency dean. You will work in groups to do in-lab activities, will show in-lab demos to your TA, and will submit reports. Details will be posted here:

Lab reports will be submitted through Gradescope.  Please contact an instructor or your TA if you have not been added to the class roster.

7.4.1 Final Lab

Lab 6 will replace the final in this course. This lab is an open-ended mini-project that will allow you to show off everything you’ve learned throughout the course, and explore more concepts on your own. More details coming soon.

7.5 Extra Credit

No homeworks or exams will be dropped from the course.  However, there is an opportunity for extra credit.

You can do an extra credit project (solo or in groups of at most 3) that will count for a bonus added to your total grade (up to 5%).  The project deliverable is an abstract and short video (5-10 minutes). More information will be provided during class.

Guidelines: The videos should be ~5-10 minutes in length. You will be scored on 0-5 on the following:
– Is the video a good length?
– How challenging is the topic?
– Did you provide an interesting motivating example?
– How well did you explain the topic?
– Did you provide an informative worked example?
– How effective are the visualizations used?
– Does the video demonstrate creativity in teaching?

8 Website, Access, and Correspondence

All materials and updates will be posted here on our course website.

We have a course Discord for asking questions and discussing the course content. If you have not been added, please reach out to the instructor or a TA for an invitation.

9 University and College Policies

Sexual Misconduct Reporting Obligation

The University of Illinois is committed to combating sexual misconduct. Faculty and staff members are required to report any instances of sexual misconduct to the University’s Title IX Office. In turn, an individual with the Title IX Office will provide information about rights and options, including accommodations, support services, the campus disciplinary process, and law enforcement options.

A list of the designated University employees who, as counselors, confidential advisors, and medical professionals, do not have this reporting responsibility and can maintain confidentiality, can be found here:

Other information about resources and reporting is available here:

Academic Integrity

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Student Code should also be considered as a part of this syllabus. Students should pay particular attention to Article 1, Part 4: Academic Integrity. Read the Code at the following URL:

Academic dishonesty may result in a failing grade. Every student is expected to review and abide by the Academic Integrity Policy: Ignorance is not an excuse for any academic dishonesty. It is your responsibility to read this policy to avoid any misunderstanding. Do not hesitate to ask the instructor(s) if you are ever in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, cheating, or any other breach of academic integrity.

Religious Observances

Illinois law requires the University to reasonably accommodate its students’ religious beliefs, observances, and practices in regard to admissions, class attendance, and the scheduling of examinations and work requirements. You should examine this syllabus at the beginning of the semester for potential conflicts between course deadlines and any of your religious observances. If a conflict exists, you should notify your instructor of the conflict and follow the procedure at to request appropriate accommodations. This should be done in the first two weeks of classes.

Disability-Related Accommodations

To obtain disability-related academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids, students with disabilities must contact the course instructor and the Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) as soon as possible. To contact DRES, you may visit 1207 S. Oak St., Champaign, call 333-4603, e-mail or go to  If you are concerned you have a disability-related condition that is impacting your academic progress, there are academic screening appointments available that can help diagnosis a previously undiagnosed disability. You may access these by visiting the DRES website and selecting “Request an Academic Screening” at the bottom of the page.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Any student who has suppressed their directory information pursuant to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) should self-identify to the instructor to ensure protection of the privacy of their attendance in this course. See for more information on FERPA.

Anti-Racism and Inclusivity Statement

The intent is to raise student and instructor awareness of the ongoing threat of bias and
racism and of the need to take personal responsibility in creating an inclusive learning

The Grainger College of Engineering is committed to the creation of an anti-racist, inclusive
community that welcomes diversity along a number of dimensions, including, but not limited to,
race, ethnicity and national origins, gender and gender identity, sexuality, disability status, class,
age, or religious beliefs. The College recognizes that we are learning together in the midst of the
Black Lives Matter movement, that Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous voices and contributions
have largely either been excluded from, or not recognized in, science and engineering, and that
both overt racism and micro-aggressions threaten the well-being of our students and our
university community.

The effectiveness of this course is dependent upon each of us to create a safe and
encouraging learning environment that allows for the open exchange of ideas while also
ensuring equitable opportunities and respect for all of us. Everyone is expected to help establish
and maintain an environment where students, staff, and faculty can contribute without fear of
personal ridicule, or intolerant or offensive language. If you witness or experience racism,
discrimination, micro-aggressions, or other offensive behavior, you are encouraged to bring this
to the attention of the course director if you feel comfortable. You can also report these
behaviors to the Bias Assessment and Response Team (BART) ( Based
on your report, BART members will follow up and reach out to students to make sure they have
the support they need to be healthy and safe. If the reported behavior also violates university
policy, staff in the Office for Student Conflict Resolution may respond as well and will take
appropriate action.