Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Vehicles, Robotics, and Control

Research Focus

Control systems are an integral part of most, if not all, the systems that are analyzed and designed by mechanical and aerospace engineers. As the name implies, the ultimate purpose of a control system in mechanical and aerospace applications is to allow a dynamic system to perform the task for which it has been designed safely, efficiently and accurately. Pertinent examples can include such diverse applications as an automatic landing system for a commercial aircraft, a motion control system for a high-precision milling machine, a stability augmentation device for an automobile, and a pump to automatically regulate insulin for diabetics. A typical control system design involves three fundamental and interdependent components associated with sensing, control computation, and actuation. Development of the requisite skills necessary to integrate these components in an effective control system design require a firm grounding in mathematics, fluid mechanics and system dynamics, sub-disciplines which form the core of the curricula in mechanical and aerospace programs.