Every autonomous vehicle has an embedded microcontroller to implement a control algorithm. PID is a common control strategy for quadrotor drones.
Hand-build prototype circuitry and general purpose microcontrollers allow for quick assembly of a functional prototype. Production level products have leaner, more dedicated controllers.
There truly is no limit to what you can create with mechatronic systems. Whether you want to fly a drone autonomously, control a complex industrial process, or create a smart product to make you pancakes in the morning, mechatronics makes it possible. If you can imagine it, we can help you make it happen.
Embedded microcontrollers are the tool of choice for “smart” product design.
Think of a microcontroller as a miniature brain. These embedded controllers manage everything from sensor data acquisition to actuation to sophisticated control algorithms. They take in data, just like your eyes and ears. They process the data, just like your brain. Finally, they control actuators (motors, pumps, valves, etc.) to achieve their goals, whatever they may be. All of these electro-mechanical components comprise what’s known as a mechatronic system.
Control systems engineering is the study of controlling complex, unstable systems.
When precise control is needed, simple on-off logic is not sufficient and more sophisticated methods must be used. PID (Proportional-integral-derivative) control, MRAC (model reference adaptive control), and self-tuning/adaptive control are some of the tools available to control systems with strict performance criteria.
Top-level feedback control strategy
All of these methods utilize a mathematical model which represents the physics behind the system at hand, as well as a control algorithm (such as a feedback loop).
The challenge of balancing an inverted pendulum on top of a quadrotor is a perfect example of control systems engineering implemented with a mechatronic system: