Embedded Control and Power Grids

 Head of specialisation: Mohamed HAMIDA


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.

List of Courses

  • Systems identification and signal filtering
  • Modelling and verification of embedded systems
  • Project 1
  • Advanced control of linear systems
  • Advanced control of non-linear systems
  • Embedded systems software
  • Control methodology of linear systems
  • Simulation of dynamical systems - rapid prototyping
  • Analysis and control of power systems
  • Synchronous automation and supervision
  • Interconnected systems
  • Real-time operating kernel
  • Project 2
  • Discrete time implementation of control laws

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.

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

Sectors of activity and employment prospects

The very nature of control and embedded systems leads to excellent employment prospects across the industrial sector:
- in aerospace, aeronautics (automatic pilot, electric aircraft)
- in the automotive sector (engine consumption, comfort)
- in energy (power grid management, energy production systems)
- in telecommunications (telephones and smartphones)
- in health (insulin pumps for diabetics, automated medical procedures, medicine management)
- in home automation (connected objects, intelligent temperature control)
- in industrial automation (manufacturing, food packing).
Published on March 16, 2017 Updated on May 16, 2019