Pan Zhao

headshot of Dr.Pan Zhao 

Pan Zhao
Assistant Professor
Director of Autonomous Systems and Control Lab (ASCL)
Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
University of Alabama
Office: 201 7th Avenue, Tom Bevill Building 1103D, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
(205) 348-2807
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About me

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics at the University of Alabama, and the director of the Autonomous Systems and Control Lab (ASCL). Before joining UA, I was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, advised by Prof. Naira Hovakimyan. I got my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2018 from the University of British Columbia, advised by Prof. Ryozo Nagamune and Prof. Mu Chiao.

My research interests include control and autonomous systems with applications to aerospace, robotics and agricultural systems. In particular, I leverage dynamical systems, control theory, and machine learning tools to design and validate control and decision-making algorithms for autonomous/intelligent systems to ensure their safe and efficient operation in challenging scenarios under various uncertainties.

Research profile of Dr. Pan Zhao 

Some specific directions that I currently focus on include

  • Robust and adaptive control

  • Planning and predictive control under uncertainties

  • Data-driven modeling and control

  • Safe learning-based control and decision making

  • Resilient autonomous systems

  • Applications in air mobility, aerial robotics, and sustainable agricultural management


Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, University of British Columbia, 2018
M.E. in Mechatronics Engineering, Beihang University, 2012
B.E. in Automation, Beihang University, 2009


I am looking for self-motivated graduate students in the fields of Control and Autonomous Systems with a starting date of Fall 2024. See our lab website for details.