Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


College of Engineering


Charles Birdsong

Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


The United States trucking industry is immense. Employing over three million drivers and traveling to every city in the country. Semi-Trucks travel millions of miles each week and encompass roads that civilians travel on. These vehicles should be safe and allow efficient travel for all. Autonomous vehicles have been discussed in controls for many decades. Now fleets of autonomous vehicles are beginning their integration into society. The ability to create an autonomous system requires domain and system specific knowledge. Approaches to implement a fully autonomous vehicle have been developed using different techniques in control systems such as Kalman Filters, Neural Networks, Model Predictive Control, and Adaptive Control. However some of these control techniques require superb models, immense computing power, and terabytes of storage. One way to circumvent these issues is by the use of an adaptive control scheme. Adaptive control systems allow for an existing control system to self-tune its performance for unknown variables i.e. when an environment changes. In this thesis a LQR error state control system is derived and shown to maintain a magnitude of 15 cm of steady state error from the center-line of the road. In addition a proposed LQR-MRAC controller is used to test the robustness of a lane-keeping control system. The LQR-MRAC controller was able to improve its transient response peak error from the center-line of the road of the tractor and the trailer by 9.47 [cm] and 7.27 [cm]. The LQR-MRAC controller increased tractor steady state error by 0.4 [cm] and decreased trailer steady state error by 1 [cm]. The LQR-MRAC controller was able to outperform modern control techniques and can be used to improve the response of the tractor-trailer system to handle mass changes in its environment.