Karen Leung

kymleung [at] uw [dot] edu

Research Scientist @ NVIDIA

Assistant Professor @ UW A&A

Affiliate Faculty @ AFSL

I recently joined the University of Washington Aeronautics and Astronautics department as an Assistant Professor. I direct the Control and Trustworthy Robotics Lab (CTRL). I am also a research scientist at NVIDIA Research.


I am the Juris Vagners and Linda Christianson Endowed Faculty Fellow in Aeronautics & Astronautics. The fellowship provides support to faculty involved in controls and controls-related research and teaching with the goal of maintaining and expanding the excellence of the program.

In 2021-2022, I was a research scientist at NVIDIA Research, working in the Autonomous Vehicle Research Group. Before that, I was a PhD student in AeroAstro at Stanford, advised by Marco Pavone. I have interned at Toyota Research Institute and NVIDIA Research.

My research focuses on developing safe, intelligent, and trustworthy robotics systems, especially those that interact with humans and operate in safety-critical settings. I am interested in developing decision-making and control algorithms that can adapt to changing, uncertain, and unseen environments. You can learn more by watching my PhD defense and checking out my lab website.

recent news

Sep, 2022

I recently started my Assistant Professor position at the University of Washington! I’ll be directing the Control and Trustworthy Robotics Lab (CTRL) which will subsuming the Autonomous Flight Systems Lab. I’ve just released my new lab website, so please check it out!

Sep, 2022

I’ll be organizing a workshop at NeurIPS 2022, titled Progress and Challenges in Building Trustworthy Embodied AI Deadline to submit a workshop paper has been extended to October 1st!

Jun, 2022

I attended my graduation ceremony and was thrilled to receive the William F. Ballhaus Prize for best PhD Thesis. Thank you everyone that has supported me along the way and made my PhD journey a wonderful experience.

Jun, 2022

I gave an invited talk at the Learning and control for safety-critical systems workshop. Thank you Yagiz Savas for inviting me to speak. I also presented my paper at American Control Conference 2022 at Atlanta, Georgia. It was my first in-person conference since the start of the pandemic, my first time in Atlanta, and my first time co-chairing a session. It was a great conference with great people!

Jun, 2022

I was invited to give a (virtual) talk at the workshop From Benchmarking Behavior Prediction to Socially Compatible Behavior Generation in Autonomous Driving at the Intelligent Vehicles Symposium 2022. Thank you Sascha Hornauer for inviting me and organizing the workshop! My collaborator Sever Topan at NVIDIA also presented our joint work titled Interaction-Dynamics-Aware Perception Zones for Obstacle Detection Safety Evaluation that was accepted to the conference.