Control Systems Simplified
I.D. # C0525 Duration 2 Days

The advent of digital computers and the availability of ever cheaper and faster micro processors have brought a tremendous amount of control system applications to the automotive industry in the last two decades. From engine and transmission systems, to virtually all chassis subsystems (brakes, suspensions, and steering), some level of computer control is present. Control systems theory is also being applied to comfort systems such as climate control and safety systems such as cruise control or collision mitigation systems.

This seminar begins by introducing the highly mathematical field of control systems focusing on what the classical control system tools do and how they can be applied to automotive systems. Dynamic systems, time/frequency responses, and stability margins are presented in an easy to understand format. Utilizing Matlab and Simulink, students will learn how simple computer models are generated. Other fundamental techniques in control design such as PID and lead-lag compensators will be presented as well as the basics of embedded control systems. During this interactive seminar, attendees will utilize case studies to develop a simple control design for a closed loop system. And, with the aid of a simple positioning control experiment, students will learn the major components and issues found in many automotive control applications today.

Learning Objectives
By attending this seminar, you will be able to:
  • Determine performance characteristics of open and closed loop systems such as time and frequency responses and stability margins
  • Analyze compromises and select the best compromised solution between stability and closed loop performance metrics
  • Model simple physical systems in MatLab/Simulink environment
  • Analyze and design simple compensators in MatLab/Simulink environment
  • Evaluate issues associated with digital control systems including effects of sampling time, word length, and throughput
  • Explain the functions of various components found in today's automotive embedded control systems including ECU I/O section, software/algorithm, power electronics, and sensors and actuators
  • Communicate with control systems designers more effectively in terms of technical issues as well as toolsets, and functional needs

Who Should Attend
This introductory course is designed for individuals with little or no background in control systems. Engineers, managers, and technical managers with backgrounds in systems, mechanical, electrical, or industrial engineering who work with vehicle chassis (suspension/brakes/steering), powertrains, comfort systems, vehicle dynamics, sensors/actuators, and diagnostics will find the seminar beneficial. Test engineers and technicians, patent attorneys, and business executives may also find this course valuable.
An undergraduate engineering degree or a strong technical background is highly recommended. Basic knowledge of college algebra, college physics, and a familiarity with vehicle systems is required.
Seminar Content
  • Background Information
    • Examples and block diagrams -- Open and closed loop systems
    • Dynamic systems (time and frequency domains)
    • Stability
    • Compromises of a closed loop system
  • Model Development
    • Modeling philosophies
    • Case study -- Problem description; Governing equations; Create a model based on transfer function; Create a model based on Simulink blocks
  • Model Analysis
    • Case study -- Simulation issues (numerical integration); Linear analysis - frequency domain; Nonlinear analysis - time domain
  • Compensation (Controller Design) Methods
    • On-Off
    • Gain
    • PID
    • Lead- Lag
  • Control System Design
    • Case study -- Design philosophies; Time domain based design; Frequency domain based design
  • Embedded Systems
    • Elements of embedded control systems
    • Experiment
    • Digital control
    • Implementation issues
  • Design Implementation
    • Case Study -- Digital issues; Experiment; Sensors and estimation; Software architecture;
  • Advanced Subjects
    • Nonlinear/adaptive control
    • Robust control
    • Trends, tools and references

Instructor(s): Farhad Bolourchi

Dr. Bolourchi is currently a staff research engineer II with Nexteer Automotive Innovation Center where he designs algorithms for advanced chassis systems.  Farhad helped develop Delphi\'s first electric power steering system, for which he received the company's highest technical award, the "Boss Kettering".  Dr. Bolourchi previously worked for Hughes Aircraft Company and gained valuable experience in both missile systems controls and automotive applications.  He was also a part time faculty member at the University of California - Davis and Sacramento State University.  Farhad received GM's President Honors award in 1998, and was inducted to Delphi's Hall of Fame in 1999. He has numerous publications and patents related to control systems and automotive applications.  Dr. Bolourchi has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University, a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D in Nonlinear Control Systems from the University of California - Davis.

"A great, concise course that covers the topics effectively."

William Fox

Manager Controls Group

Vanner, Inc.


"Great seminar to acquire practical understanding of control systems. The material was delivered in such a way that even an engineer out of school for 20 years could understand!"

Tim Drotar

Senior Engineer

Ford Motor Company


Fees: $1299 SAE Members: $1169


CEU 1.3