Useful Resources on Automatic Control

I came across some useful materials about Automatic Control (System Dynamics, Modelling and Control) on the course page (System Dynamics and Control) of  Assist. Prof. Hulya Yalcin from Istanbul Technical University. (link: ). Since Dr.Yalcin put those useful materials together, I would like to copy her suggested materials here too.

In addition to these materials, I would like to add some other materials:

Applications of Kinematics

Ferdinand Freudenstein(12 May 1926 – 30 March 2006) who is being described as “Father of Modern Kinematics” has made great contributions to the kinematics and mechanics. As it is said that he had mentored 500 PhD students(That’s amazing and unbelievable!). One of them his student was  Arthur G. Erdman (now Professor at University at Minnesota, Mechanical Engineering Department, link to his website). Professor Arthur G. Erdman is giving a seminar related to why “Kinematic is a dead field” now as he said.  (It is a joke! Don’t waste your time to search the video how kinematics is dead!).

He is giving examples from very different areas where kinematics principles are applied. Therefore this video/ or slide might be used for the inroductory lecture session for the lecture of “Kinematic Design” or “Machine Theory”. He gives many great useful examples from daily life. Any lecturer might present this video on the first lecture of Machine Design, or he can give this video to the student as a homework to watch.

Additionally here you can find here another similar video from Dr. Bernard Roth (another PhD student of Ferdinand Freudenstein 🙂 ).



It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a WALL!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho, what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a SPEAR!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a SNAKE!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he:
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a TREE!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a FAN!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a ROPE!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

I came across that poem to describe what assumptions we do while we create the mathematical model of a physical system. (from the book of Fen, Mühendislik ve Sosyal Bilimlerde Matematiksel Modelleme, Nuri Özalp, Gazi Kitabevi Yayınları, 2015)

That poem example explain so well about our assumptions in mathematical modelling: the model might work for that particular part, however it is not exactly whole. With our mathematical model; We are right , we are also wrong at the same time.
However, for engineers the purpose is to make/create something useful for humanity, even though our model is wrong in some part.

Solenoid Engine

As an alternative to the internal combustion engines;  solenoid engines which has the prinsiple with solenoid valves, can be used as well. It is easy to produce, but difficult to control.

Here on this movie, a very basic solenoid engine is shown how to made with basic homemade stuff.

Actually, it is being used as an exhaust valves.


internal combustion engine elements


exhaust valve at internal combustion engine

What if it is possible to the same linear trajecotry by an electromechanical actuator in state of a spring-classic exhaust valve? Yes, it is possible to make the forward-back linear movements by an electromechanical actuator. (see the image below):


solenoid exhaust-intake valves


solenoid exhaust valve

Self Driving Cars

It’s been years that people working on “driver-assistance systems”, and also “self driving systems”.

Advanced driver assistance systems such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Parking, Blind Spot Monitor is getting better and better every single day. And therefore, we are getting closer the perfect “self driving cars”.

In 1986 (I wasn’t born by that time by the way 🙂 ), it (the movie of “Knight Rider”) was only a  science fiction. Maybe people were laughing on it at that time.

It is seen as a normal technology to interact with our automobile now.

As the sensor technology gets higher day by day, and data processing time decreases, a car is able to do its reactions in different situations by its own algorithms (which means its “thinking”s in a simple way).

According to wikipedia; The first self-sufficient and truly autonomous cars appeared in the 1980s, with Carnegie Mellon University’s Navlab. Later on,  Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Bosch, Nissan, Renault, Toyota, Audi, Volvo, Tesla Motors (and so on …) have developed their working prototype autonomous vehicles.

For sure, Google too :))

Google has changened its self driving car project under the name of “Waymo“. Google’s driveless car has ride over a 2 million miles until now for testing, it still continues for improvement for “perfection” :))