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Control and instrumentation for robotics - ELE00155M

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  • Department: Electronic Engineering
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Hadi El Daou
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

Control systems are very important in robotics. This module covers the use of sensors and instrumentation on robots and feedback control for linear time-invariant systems, including the design of PD, PI and PID controllers, and the implementation of controllers using digital techniques. The laboratory sessions will familiarise students with the Simulink/Simscape environment, enabling them to create physical models of mechanical, electrical and electromechanical systems, design and test control systems.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

  • To provide a practical introduction to linear and nonlinear system modelling.

  • To list and detail common instrumentation for robotics in context of their uses and characteristics

  • To provide a fundamental introduction to the analysis and design of static and dynamic controllers for linear, time-invariant, continuous and discrete dynamic systems.

  • To show how these controllers can be implemented in a practical context.

  • To extend these basic control concepts and apply them to more complex problems.

  • To show how these ideas can be applied in a robotics context

Module learning outcomes

  • Be able to apply the Laplace transform and Z transform in the development of transfer functions for a range of simple dynamic systems.

  • Be able to analyse transfer functions and present the properties of the systems they represent in terms of control objectives.

  • Be able to design static and dynamic control systems to achieve a set of desired control objectives.

  • Be able to use software tools, based upon the MATLAB environment to support control system analysis and design.

  • Be able to design and implement active control components such as PID controllers to achieve desirable control objectives.

  • Explain how control engineering sits within robotics system design and implementation

Module content

Introduction to Control Engineering: objectives of control; instrumentation and sensors in robotics; sensor modelling and solution; use of sensors in open and closed loop systems; the control design process; use of MATLAB for modelling and controller design; Laplace transforms; transfer functions; electrical systems; translational systems; rotational systems; electromechanical systems; time responses: 1st and 2nd order systems; time domain specifications; higher order systems; system zeros; stability: Routh-Hurwitz; Routh array; design via the Routh array; steady state errors; gain and phase margins; root locus analysis and sketching rules; design for transient response; design of active control components such as PID controllers to achieve desirable control objectives; Control Engineering in a robotics context; Z transform and discretisation.

The student will be expected to undertake a portfolio of self-paced learning exercises using Matlab, Simscape and the Control Systems Toolbox to explore and reinforce understanding of learning outcomes.


Task Length % of module mark
Open Exam (1 day)
Control and Instrumentation for Robotics Open Exam
3 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Open Exam (1 day)
Control and Instrumentation for Robotics Open Exam
3 hours 100

Module feedback

'Feedback’ at a university level can be understood as any part of the learning process which is designed to guide your progress through your degree programme. We aim to help you reflect on your own learning and help you feel more clear about your progress through clarifying what is expected of you in both formative and summative assessments. A comprehensive guide to feedback and to forms of feedback is available in the Guide to Assessment Standards, Marking and Feedback.

The School of PET aims to provide some form of feedback on all formative and summative assessments that are carried out during the degree programme. In general, feedback on any written work/assignments undertaken will be sufficient so as to indicate the nature of the changes needed in order to improve the work. The School will endeavour to return all exam feedback within the timescale set out in the University's Policy on Assessment Feedback Turnaround Time. The School would normally expect to adhere to the times given, however, it is possible that exceptional circumstances may delay feedback. The School will endeavour to keep such delays to a minimum. Please note that any marks released are subject to ratification by the Board of Examiners and Senate. Meetings at the start/end of each term provide you with an opportunity to discuss and reflect with your supervisor on your overall performance to date.

Indicative reading

Nise, N. S., ‘Control Systems Engineering’, 8th Edition, John Wiley, 2022. ISBN 978-1119590132

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.