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Matlab Simulation Projects For A First Course In Linear Control Systems

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.444.1 - 5.444.7

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Jr., Richard T. O'Brien

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2520

Matlab Simulation Projects for a First Course in Linear Control Systems

Richard T. O’Brien, Jr. The United States Naval Academy


Computer simulation is vital part of a first course in linear control systems. At the United States Naval Academy, MATLAB simulation projects are used to reinforce the lecture material and present “real-world” design projects at an introductory level. In this paper, a series of three projects on the design of an automated steering controller are presented. The projects introduce the students to the “design process” and require the students to address open-ended problems. Furthermore, the students are generally intrigued by the idea of vehicle automation and do not require extensive motivation.

In the first project, the students investigated a simplified model of automated steering control system. The project emphasizes 2nd order system response and introduces the design process. Specifically, the students must compromise between competing objectives in selecting a proportional controller gain. The next project introduces a measurement device (an accelerometer). In this project, the students revisit 2nd order system response and investigate the effect of the accelerometer response on performance and stability. In the final project, a more realistic vehicle model is introduced and the students apply root locus techniques to the design of an automated steering controller.

I. Introduction

The availability of computer simulation tools such as MATLAB has created both opportunities and challenges in engineering education. These tools allow the students to simulate, analyze, and design engineering systems quickly and easily, but the underlying concepts can be obscured. In this paper, a series of design projects for a first course in linear control systems are presented. In these projects, MATLAB is used to reinforce the course material and introduce the students open-ended design problems.

The problem of designing an automated steering controller is investigated in three design projects. Initially, the control problem is considered in a simplified form. As the semester

O'Brien, J. R. T. (2000, June), Matlab Simulation Projects For A First Course In Linear Control Systems Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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