Policies – Fall 2023

Course Description

Expectations and Goals: By the end of this course, you should gain a deep understanding of the different modules that go into autonomous vehicles, experience implementing related algorithms, and evaluate basic safety principles.

Course Material: There is no required textbook for this course. It will be based on material from the reference texts (see Resources), lecture notes, and recent research articles all of which will be made available on the course webpage.

Your team

Autonomy is safer with a team. You will work in groups of 3 or 4  for the class project, labs, and the MPs. On the first week of class, you will have to create your team within your lab sections (AB1-AB5). Homework assignments and exams will be solo activities for each of you to engage deeply with the material. There will be labs and office hours to get help.


  • MPs (mostly team): 45%
  • HWs (individual): 10%
  • Mini Project: 25%
  • Midterm: 20%

Assignments (a.k.a MPs)

There will be 4-5 Machine Problems (MPs). Mostly coding and experimentation. You will work with your teammates to implement lane detection filters, path planners, localization algorithms, and use latest tools for vehicle simulation and verification. Lab sessions will help you get started with the MPs. Each MP will have a submission deadline (usually Friday. 11:59 PM). See the Assignment page for more details.

Tech requirements: For the assignments, you will be programming with ROS. More details are provided on the Resources page.


Lab Sessions: AB1(10:00-10:50AM), AB2(11:00-11:50AM), AB3(5:00-6:00PM), AB4(6:00-6:50PM), AB5(7:00-7:50PM) on every Friday.

The lab is held in ECEB 5072 to help you work with ROS and related autonomy software and simulators.

Each week after a new MP is released, your entire group will have to attend your respective lab section. These labs will introduce the MP, the related software, and also teach you the necessary tools. The lab attendance is taken as a group and counts towards your MP score.

Each week after an MP is due,  your entire group will have to attend a lab section to demo the MP. Your MP will be graded in part based on this demo.

Sign-up sheet for lab section will be released shortly before each demo session.

The following rules apply when using the lab machines:

  • ROS and Gazebo must be killed after using and cannot be left running after logging out.
  • Do not shut down the machine. Logging out your account when you are not using the machine.


There will be 5-6 short Homework assignments (HW). Mostly theoretical questions related to topics covered in lectures, MPs, and exams.


There will be two midterms. Details will be posted here shortly and discussed in lecture.

Mini Project

The mini project is your opportunity to impress everyone and build your own autonomous vehicle than can be implemented on a real car! Details will be posted shortly.

Your project will be graded based on presentation, results, organization.

University and College Policies

COVID-19 Policies

Students and faculty are expected to attend class in person unless they are required to isolate or quarantine because of COVID exposure or other excused absences. All COVID-related student absences should be treated as excused absences and accommodated as such. Dates of a student’s absence can be verified in Banner Self-Service.

For students who are absent from class due to quarantine or isolation requirements but are asymptomatic and would like to continue engaging in their courses, having access to course notes, recorded lectures (perhaps from previous semesters if the current semester is not being recorded), and other materials can help them keep up with course content while they cannot attend lectures and labs in person.

For students who need to take a few days to recuperate, flexibility in assignment due dates, a course policy that allows students to drop a limited number of course assignments without penalty, or replacing a missed midterm with the final exam grade will help them stay on track.

Encourage students who miss a considerable amount of coursework to reach out to their undergraduate departmental and college academic advisors or departmental graduate program coordinator to discuss options. Missing work in multiple classes due to illness or other circumstances can be difficult to recover from, and it may be in the student’s best interest to reduce the number of courses they are taking. Advisors can help students through this process.

In addition to departmental and college advising offices, many resources are available to help struggling students, such as the Student Assistance CenterCounseling Center (View additional resources: Counseling Center at Engineering Hall and Let’s Talk), and our college’s embedded counselor, Dr. George.

Encourage students who miss a considerable amount of coursework to reach out to their undergraduate departmental and college academic advisors or departmental graduate program coordinator to discuss options. Missing work in multiple classes due to illness or other circumstances can be difficult to recover from, and it may be in the student’s best interest to reduce the number of courses they are taking. Advisors can help students through this process.

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: wecare.illinois.edu/resources/students/#confidential.

Other information about resources and reporting is available here: wecare.illinois.edu.

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: http://studentcode.illinois.edu/.

Academic dishonesty may result in a failing grade. Every student is expected to review and abide by the Academic Integrity Policy: https://studentcode.illinois.edu/article1/part4/1-401/. 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 https://odos.illinois.edu/community-of-care/resources/students/religious-observances/ 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 disability@illinois.edu or go to https://www.disability.illinois.edu.  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 https://registrar.illinois.edu/academic-records/ferpa/ 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) (https://bart.illinois.edu/). 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.