Embedded Control and Power Grids

Specialisation taught in 2021/2022, no longer available from September 2022

The development of control systems today is taking place through an integrated approach that can be characterised in the following terms: from system specification to embedded software. This has replaced the fragmented approach of control law design on one side and its implementation (e.g. in embedded systems) on the other. Both sides now agree on the need to understand the other side's constraints and techniques. 

If further proof were needed, we can mention the seminars for engineers organised by software companies. The idea is to show the integration of the different steps within the design of control systems:  1) modelling/identification, 2) control design, 3) simulations, 4) development of embedded solutions, 5) analysis of safety/security/reliability, 6) implementation: supervision, assessment, decision. This specialisation has been specifically developed based on this industrial approach. 

There are wide-ranging industrial issues linked to the design of control systems and the implementation of embedded solutions. In 2013, France established 34 priorities for industrial policy, defining existing assets to be safeguarded or enhanced at national level. Smart grids' and embedded software and systems' are featured themes amongst these assets. The objectives of the RTE Chair, established at Centrale Nantes in 2015, relate directly to the first of these themes, notably through courses such as analysis and control of power systems'. More generally, the courses dealing with embedded systems and control are linked to the second theme, but also to other subjects such as automatically controlled vehicles, renewable energies, electric aircraft and the new generation of heavy-lift airships and aircraft.

Students in this specialisation will master a range of design and implementation tools for control laws and embedded software solutions; and acquire a global perspective of the development chain for a control system.


International students can follow this specialisation, taught in French, via:

  • A double degree programme - Open to international students selected by our partner institutions. Selected students spend two years studying courses from the engineering programme at Centrale Nantes. This usually includes one year of the common-core engineering curriculum followed by one year of specialisation. Double degree students are typically accepted after successfully completing two or three years of higher education in their home institution.
  • The fast-track engineering programme: Open to students with a Bachelor's or equivalent degree in science. Our fast-track programme gives international students who are qualified to bachelor level the opportunity to gain the 'diplôme d'ingénieur' in just two years.
  • An exchange year/semester: International students selected by our partner institutions abroad have the opportunity to spend one semester or one year of their studies at Centrale Nantes. They usually join the final year of the engineering programme choosing both a specialisation and a professional option to obtain ECTS credits.
Course Content
Autumn Semester Spring Semester
Analysis and control of power systems Digital design on FPGA
Embedded systems software Real-time operating kernel
Control methodology of linear systems Discrete time implementation of control laws
Simulation of dynamical systems - rapid prototyping Interconnected systems
Advanced control of non-linear systems Project 2
Advanced control of linear systems Internship
Systems identification and signal filtering
Modelling and verification of embedded systems
Project 1

Download 2021/22 syllabus

Examples of projects and internships

Examples of past projects

  • Analysis of the dynamics of an electrical generator coupled to a power (RTE Chair).
  • Steering of the sails of a hybrid diesel/sail boat (linked to the contract between STX and the IRCCyN laboratory).
  • Control of a pico brewery with an Arduino microcontroller and a smartphone.
  • Construction of a mini Segway vehicle controlled by an Arduino microcontroller.
  • Production of a ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle)
  • Production of a connected greenhouse
  • Control methodology for Saildrone
  • Study of a WIFI module
  • Managing electric vehicle charging (in collaboration with Renault)
  • Aerial video tracking system (in collaboration with Thales)

Examples of previous internships

  • Airbus - Study on embedded Ethernet switches on telecommunications microprocessors for avionics software
  • PSA - Hybrid powertrain simulation
  • MBDA - Development of a 2D/3D HMI plugin for Matlab/Simulink
  • MBDA - Determination of the flight altitude of an aircraft
  • Study on electric vehicle charging (Renault Technocentre)
  • Avionics Architecture Optimisation (ATR)
  • Robust control law for the transmission of mobile articulated machines (Secom Engineering)
  • Extension of Cyber Security surveillance probes to embedded systems (Thales Air Systems)
  • Integration of renewable energies on the network with the Linky meter (EDF R&D)
After the specialisation

Industry Sectors

  • Automobile
  • Aeronautics
  • Energy
  • Electricity Transport
  • Offshore sector
  • Space Industry
  • Biomechanics
  • Health

Career Prospects

  • R&D engineer (studies, development, design,
  • methodology...)
  • Platform architect and embedded applications
  • Embedded software developer
  • Operations and maintenance engineer (power grids, power generation etc)
  • Testing / validation / integration
  • Project manager
  • Management

Published on November 2, 2015 Updated on March 30, 2022