Automatic control and testing laboratory (ACTLab)

ACT Lab, Facilities

This laboratory is about designing and testing advanced control systems and it is primarily used for research and the occasional undergraduate project work. Simply put, the objective of automatic control is to make things do what the engineer wishes them to do, rather than what they naturally do.

The basis of the approach is mathematics and physics, with a particular emphasis on the dynamics of systems. Many control ideas are developed in academia and are then used in a wide range of commercial applications such as:

  • aerospace systems and robotics;
  • railway vehicles;
  • road vehicle;,
  • advanced testing systems (such as earthquake simulators); and
  • domestic appliances.

The laboratory has an international reputation in the specific areas of adaptive control, dynamic substructuring, multivariable control, nonlinear control and hydraulic system control.

One unique feature is a large modular servohydraulic test system, where many of our ideas are investigated via realistic applications. Much of this work is conducted with industry, both from the UK and overseas. In fact, our most significant overseas link is with Japan, where we work on the control of advanced testing systems with academic, railway and civil engineering institutions including Kyoto University, the national Railway Technical Research Institute (Tokyo) and E-Defense (Kobe) - the largest earthquake simulation and test facility in the world.

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