Our research results are being used in industry, for example: feed forward tuning and learning control (ASML, Philips, Océ), energy management (DAF, TNO), control of transmissions (Bosch, Punch Powertrains) and friction compensation (FEI).
The CST group participated in the IOP Precision Technology innovation programme, the Programme for High-tech Systems and the Mechatronics workgroup of the Point One Innovation programme (PPP, a >100 M€ programme). Here, we discussed the future roadmaps of high-tech systems with OEMs and SMEs and made a significant contribution to these discussions as co-writer of the semicon/mechatronics/health and robotics roadmaps. The same holds for the PPP HTAS for the Automotive sector, in which we initiated research and education innovations. We also contributed significantly to the forming of the new Top Sector approach and had many discussions with the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Currently we are one of the founding groups of the new TU/e High Tech Systems Center (HTSC), in which new research is initiated with a systems engineering flavor.
During the crisis of 2008, we initiated the idea of hosting industrial researchers and engineers within knowledge institutes to prevent unemployment. We came up with this idea in November 2008, and it was realised in early 2009 by the Dutch government in a 200 M€ programme for about 1500 engineers. Within our group we hosted 20 people from industry for about 1.5 years. Of these, 15 were from a single project (DAF Trucks and its suppliers) on the development of hybrid trucks. This was a perfect example of how engineers from industry can efficiently take time to do research and benefit from the knowledge available in our group. It also led to a successor in the form of an HTAS-funded research project with 4 PhD students at TU/e (2 in CST). In the same spirit we have been involved in KWR projects with Océ, Philips, ASML and various SMEs, as well as a number of follow-up projects. From this KWR period, we were also active in appointing part-time researchers from industry as part-time assistant or associate professors within our group.
Care and Soccer Robots
The robotic activities gave ample opportunities to show the relevance of technology and engineering for solving societal problems. With our RoboCup team we visited many primary schools to show children our robots. We were on Dutch national television many times, and we organized the Dutch RoboCup Open in 2012, as well as the RoboCup World Championships in Eindhoven in 2013. The latter event attracted an audience of more than 40 million viewers worldwide. We became World Champion in soccer playing robots in 2012, 2014 and 2016, and 2nd with our Amigo and Sergio home robots.
With our activities in medical robotics we are able to make more medical doctors aware of the possibilities of modern technology, and we see an increasing number of partnerships of CST with medical academic hospitals. With our eye surgery robot PRECEYES we participated in the BBC Horizon broadcast on Robotics (2012), with millions of viewers worldwide. We also gave a TEDx 'Binnenhof' talk about our surgical robot, with an audience including the present king and queen of the Netherlands.
Our most prominent and relevant contribution to society is formed by our students. In the reporting period more than 300 Master’s students and 50 PhD students finished their studies within our group and started to work in industry or institutes. Our research is instrumental in providing them a good environment to prepare themselves for a professional life. Nowadays, having a degree from our group is seen by our surrounding industries and institutes as a mark of quality.
Using the many contacts with industry we transfer knowledge through our people (MSc, PDEng and PhD level, see above), as well as direct transfer in projects. Examples are given above. In addition, we have already for many years been giving courses for industry 'Motion Control', 'Advanced Motion Control', and 'Iterative Learning Control' (in the reporting period > 1000 man-course-days). We have also given parts of these courses in Denmark and Switzerland. This has given us a respected and well-known position as the motion group.
The CST group encourages its members to take roles in society, for non-profit organisations as well as in consultancy or entrepreneurial activities. For all these activities the members follow the formal ethical rules of TU/e.
The strong embedding within the TU/e as well as with the high-tech and automotive industry, and with the international physics plasma fusion society, enables us to attain a healthy amount of funding, well balanced between the various sources. We are able to continue our policy of being critical of what to do and with whom. In fact the funding gained also gave us the opportunity to invest in new ('free') PhD and postdoc projects, as well as in new start-ups such as MRT BV.