Welcome to the Vehicle Dynamics and Optimization Laboratory!
Lab Director: Dr. Anil V. Rao
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The Vehicle Dynamics and Optimization Laboratory at the University of Florida specializes in the following research areas:

  • Novel computational methods for the solution of complex constrained optimal control problems
  • Supporting computational methods including nonlinear optimization techniques and automatic differentiation
  • Applications in aerospace engineering including space flight mechanics, orbital mechanics, and atmospheric flight mechanics
  • Applications in mechanical engineering including robotics, ground vehicles, and optimization of human motion (biomechanics)
  • Development of state-of-the-art software for solving optimal control problems
Mission Statement: The vision of the Vehicle Dynamics and Optimization Laboratory is to be the world leader in the innovation of advanced computational methods for solving complex constrained optimal control problems. A secondary vision is to be the world leader in the application of these methodologies to problems of current interest in aerospace engineering including problems in space flight dynamics, orbital dynamics, and atmospheric flight mechanics. Our research to date has focused on the development of novel methods that employ collocation at Gaussian quadrature points and has been applied to a variety of modern aerospace engineering problems. Our methods have led to our latest state-of-the-art optimal control software, GPOPS-II, that implements variable-order Gaussian quadrature collocation methods together with sparse nonlinear programming. We are continually seeking talented students to join our group. Please continue to explore the other pages on this website if you have interest in these research areas.
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Recent Major Lab Events

  • Professor Anil Rao gave a one-day workshop on optimal control at the 2015 International Symposium on Computer Simulation in Biomechanics on 9 July 2015 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Professor Anil Rao chaired two sessions on optimal control and applications and presented his research with Dr. Begüm Senses Cannataro’s graph coarsening methods research at the 2015 British-French-German Conference on Optimization held at Imperial College, London from 15 to 17 June 2015.
  • Dr. Begüm Senses Cannataro successfully defended her PhD dissertation on 3 June 2015.
  • Fengjin Liu successfully defended her PhD proposal on 28 May 2015.
  • Dr. Matthew J. Weinstein successfully defended his PhD dissertation on 30 March 2015.
Recent Publications

  • Liu, F., Hager, W. W., and Rao, A. V., “Adaptive Mesh Refinement for Optimal Control Using Mesh Size Reduction and Discontinuity Detection,” Journal of the Franklin Institute, Vol. 352, No. 10, October 2015, pp. 4081 - 4106. doi:10.1016/j.jfranklin.2015.05.028.
  • Graham, K. F. and Rao, A. V., “Minimum-Time Trajectory Optimization of Many Revolution Low-Thrust Earth-Orbit Transfers,” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 52, No. 3, May - June 2015, pp. 711 - 727. Article Available by Clicking Here.
  • Limebeer, D. J. N. and Rao, A. V., “Faster, Higher, and Greener: Vehicular Optimal Control,” IEEE Control Systems Magazine, Vol. 35, No. 2, April 2015, pp. 36 - 56. DOI: 10.1109/MCS.2014.2384951. Article Available by Clicking Here.
For a complete list of journal articles published by VDOL click here.
© 2008 Anil V. Rao Contact Me