Our overall research strategy is focused on performance-driven design and control. The performance of a controlled system is defined as the extent to which the actual behaviour of the system matches the intended behaviour, while being subject to disturbances acting on the system and variations in system dynamics. Performance requirements can be related, forinstance, to the accurate tracking of a set-point (motion) or to the energy utilisation (hybrid vehicles). Fundamental properties that determine and possibly limit performance can befound in both external sources (disturbances acting on the system) and internal sources (system properties, controller properties, quality of sensors and actuators etc.). Only by an integrated design of both the mechatronic (hardware) system and the (software) controller can the highest performance requirements be achieved.
The engineering question underlying the design problem of high-performance systems is how to find the best combination of controller and system realisation such that the performance requirements are achieved for all prescribed situations (disturbances and system variations).
The scientific question is how to exploit (model-based) insights into the fundamental properties of the system for systematic analysis and design, leading to a significant increase in the achievable performance. It is clear that the engineering question has a strong interrelationship with the scientific question, in which the former has the role of validation and inspiration for new directions of research. The research is structured in 6 subprogrammes: