Sleiman Safaoui

I am an Associate at Exponent in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science practice.  

Before joining Exponent, I was a Research Associate with the Control, Optimization, and Networks Lab (CONLab) at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) between March and May 2024.

In Dec 2023, I graduated with a PhD in Electrical Engineering from UT Dallas where I was a Research Assistant with CONLab supervised by Dr. Tyler Summers. I also received my M.S. and B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from UT Dallas in May 2023 and May 2019, respectively. 

During my PhD, my  research focused on motion planning and control for robotic systems. You can watch my 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) presentation here for a high-level overview. In a bit more technical terms, I used tools from the rising area of Distributionally Robust Optimization to guarantee that robots can operate safely when dealing with uncertainties and particularly edge cases. I also worked with Dr. Lars Lindemann on robot control with Temporal Logic specifications. Check out my Publications for more details. Beyond research, I also supervised all the lab's hardware projects, mentored all students working with us, and acted as a lab manager; all things that I enjoy quite a lot!

Between Aug 2021 and March 2022, I was a Research Intern at Mitsubish Electric Research Labs (MERL) where I worked worked with Dr. Abraham Vinod, Dr. Rien Quirynen, Dr. Ankush Chakrabarty, and Dr. Stefano Di Cairano on motion planning solutions for drones and autonomous cars and implemented those algorithms on robotic testbeds. I trained Reinforcement Learning models for robot navigation, designed optimization based safety filters, and implemented autonomy solutions with Crazyflie quadrotors and RC cars.

As an undergraduate, I was an REU with CONLab where I lead several teams to designing our lab's autonomous RC car testbeds, COMO & SuperCOMO, and I set up and managed our Crazyflie quadrotor fleet. I developed vision and lidar-based motion planning algorithms for our RC cars, implemented control algorithms for the quadrotors, and helped PhD students with designing and running hardware experiments. I also worked with Dr. Kaveh Fathian on the design of a vision-based distributed control stack for the Sphero robots, which we called SMART

Before joining UT Dallas, I completed the first two years of my BS degree as an ECE student at the American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon.

Contact Information:


ssafaoui (at) exponent (dot) com

snsafaoui (at) gmail (dot) com