Research to which the MSc programme Systems & Control are linked, is performed at the Delft Centre for Systems and Control (DCSC) and focuses on four main research fields and their applications.
Fundamental research at DCSC covers a variety of conceptual and algorithmic aspects related to modelling of controller design for dynamical systems. Addressed are first-principal modelling as well as deterministic and statistical data-based system identification, including a description of the potential plant-model mismatch.
Mechatronics and micro-systems
Control engineering methods are developed for mechatronic systems on the scale of millimeters and micrometers. Examples of applications are found in adaptive optics, where use is made of a deformable mirror with a large array of sensors and actuations, or in the position control in a micro compact disk or hard disk.
The relevant trends in the process industry focus on better profitability, increased flexibility and the incorporation of sustainability. The current research focus is on profitability and flexibility and is based on model-based control/optimization of "difficult"' unit operations and complete plants.
Imaging and adaptive optics
Based on a quantitative model-based approach, and accompanied by statistical experimental design, precise measurement of the atomic structure of materials from electron microscopy images is made possible. Furthermore, optimal statistical tests are developed for the detection of neural activity by functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Automotive and intelligent transportation systems
The traffic and transportation research of DCSC focusses on the control of large-scale transportation system with a main emphasis on freeway and road traffic networks. In addition, we also consider control of railway networks.
Recent developments in control engineering research
Over the past few years DCSC has furthermore built on the increased emphasis on research in the areas of Automotive Research, Smart Optics and Robotics:
Automotive is a coordinated specialisation in the Control Engineering (ME-CE), Precision and Microsystems Engineering (ME-PME) and BioMechanical Design (BMD) tracks offered in the Mechanical Engineering MSc programme. Key goals of research are active control to improve engine management, vehicle safety and passenger comfort.
The field of smart optics systems is characterized by the use of deformable mirrors, lenses and wave front sensors and intelligent image processing to enhance the image quality (in real time) of scientific observation equipment. Research at DCSC is directed towards the development of the next generation of smart optics systems, in order to enhance the wide scale industrial use of this technology.
This development takes place in multidisciplinary research projects bringing together various universities, research laboratories and industrial partners.
Robotics is an excellent application domain and test-bed for intelligent control. The research at DCSC is focused on developing modular, hierarchical control systems that can effectively combine state-of-the-art model-based control mechanisms, as a priori information, while simultaneously allowing for adaptation and learning at every level of the control system (sensing, perception, state-estimation, control, decision-making and planning).
The goal is to equip robots with a higher degree of autonomy by providing mechanisms for coping with unanticipated changes in the environment and to include high level cognitive functions for effective collaboration with humans.