Automatic Control
Fall 2015
Catalog Data: 

ECE 441A -- Automatic Control (3 units)

Description: Linear control system representation in time and frequency domains, feedback control system characteristics, performance analysis and stability, and design of control

Grading: Regular grades are awarded for this course: A B C D E

ECE 340

Required: Dorf, R.C. and R.H. Bishop. Modern Control Systems. 12th Ed. Prentice Hall. 2011.
Reference: Doyle, John, Bruce Francis, and Allen Tannenbaum. Feedback Control Theory. MacMillan Publishing. 1990. Online. <>

Course Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Model, via differential equations or transfer functions, electrical, mechanical, and electromechanical dynamical systems.
  2. Linearize a set of nonlinear dynamical equations.
  3. Create a second-order model from a system's step response.
  4. Construct all-integrator block diagrams from a transfer function, a set of differential equations, or a state-space representation and vice-versa.
  5. Compute a state transition matrix from a system matrix.
  6. Describe in terms of percent overshoot, settling time, steady-state error, rise-time, or peak-time how the poles of a second-order continuous-time system influence the transient response.
  7. Translate design specifications into allowable dominant pole locations in the s-plane.
  8. Calculate a system's steady-state error and how the steady-state error can be influenced via system parameter changes.
  9. Construct and interpret the Routh Array.
  10. Determine the stability of a closed-loop system.
  11. Calculate a system's sensitivity with respect to different parameters.
  12. Sketch the root locus associated with a transfer function.
  13. Design analog controllers using root locus techniques.
  14. Design an analog PID controller to meet design specifications.
  15. Calculate the phase margin and gain margin of a system from its frequency response (Bode plots).
  16. Design analog controllers using Bode plot techniques.
  17. Design full-state feedback gains to achieve acceptable closed-loop behavior.
Course Topics: 
  • System Modeling (Chapter 2)
  • System Descriptions and Manipulation (Chapters 2 and 3)
  • Feedback System Characteristics (Chapter 4)
  • System Performance (Chapter 5) and Stability (Chapter 6)
  • Root Locus Analysis (Chapter 7) and Controller Design (Chapter 10)
  • Bode Plot Analysis (Chapter 8) and Controller Design (Chapter 10)
  • PID Controller Design (Chapter 12)
  • State Feedback Design (Chapter 11)
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 

Three, 50-minute lectures per week

Relationship to Student Outcomes: 

ECE 414A contributes directly to the following specific Electrical and Computer Engineering Student Outcomes of the ECE department:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering (High)
  • an ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data (Medium)
  • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability (Low)
  • an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams (Medium)
  • an ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems (Medium)
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice (High)
Prepared by: 
Dr. Greg Ditzler
Prepared Date: 

University of Arizona College of Engineering