Chair of Systems Theory and Control Engineering

A special feature of the Chair for Systems Theory and Control Engineering is the performance of both theoretical and application-oriented research. At the same time, contributions are made to their own field of expertise and solutions are found for industry. The methods developed are also largely implemented in specially developed systems in order to prove their practical feasibility in real time. The real-time aspect is a special challenge, among other things, in the use of measurement data to realise a feedback, for example. In the case of the Vicon tracker, the position data is provided by the Vicon DataStream SDK and transmitted wirelessly to the embedded computer unit for mobile robotics applications. There they are further processed in the non-linear control. In the closed loop, not only high accuracy of data, but low latency and overall reliability of the system is very important. Vicon products ensure both.

In a recently completed research project, a transport system was developed in which several small aircraft cooperatively position a roped load in space. In contrast to previous research, which neglected the flexibility of the ropes, this was explicitly taken into account. The additional effort enables faster and yet smooth transitions of the load compared to the simplified case. For the application, flying machines developed by the chair (so-called tricopters) with swivelling propellers are used, which are controlled using Vicon data. Vicon trackers additionally map the movement of the load to prove the stable realisation of a desired trajectory.

Thanks to the very well developed customer network of prophysics, the research series of the Saarland University has already found further cooperation partners.


Video example tricopter:

Video example quadcopter:



Recommended products

Vantage is Vicon’s flagship range of cameras. The sensors have resolutions of 5, 8 and 16 megapixels, with sample rates up to 2000Hz – this allows you to capture fast movements with very high accuracy. The cameras also have built-in temperature and bump sensors, as well as a clear display, to warn you if cameras have moved physically or due to thermal expansion. High-powered LEDs and sunlight filters mean that the Vantage is also the best choice for outdoor use and large volumes.

Tracker has been designed for the requirements and workflow of Engineering users wanting to track the position and orientation of objects with as little effort and as low latency as possible. Perfect for many applications in robotics, UAV tracking, VR and human-machine interaction, Tracker lets you define what you want to track with a couple of mouse clicks – and then you can just leave in the background tracking. A simple SDK lets you connect the output data stream to your own software.

The Vicon DataStream Software Development Kit (SDK) allows easy programmable access to the information contained in the Vicon DataStream. The function calls within the SDK allow users to connect to and request data from the Vicon DataStream.

The picture was taken during a rapid change of position of the triangular load (created in the DFG project «Control of tricopters during the joint transport of loads suspended from ropes»).

Questions at the Institute

The following questions are being investigated at the Chair of Systems Theory and Control Engineering:

Mathematical modelling, structural analysis, identification, simulation, control design, observer design and fault diagnosis, and development of methods for their implementation and technical realisation. In addition to the maintenance and further development of theory, the chair is also dedicated to the use of the methods developed to solve scientifically challenging problems, especially in the technological field. Important areas of current application-related research are: electric drives and generators, electromagnetic bearings, mobile robotics, hydraulics and shape memory actuators.

Who are the typical clients, subjects?

As basic disciplines, systems theory and control engineering are open to application and interdisciplinary cooperation with a wide range of university and industrial partners is given. These projects also serve as motivating examples in teaching activities to illustrate theory and, above all, to teach systems thinking.

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