Intelligent motion platform

Intelligent motion is concerned with intelligent actuator design, the intelligent interaction between the components of a product and smart methods of system control.

The technologies involved in the development of smart machines and their use in advanced manufacturing and processing are of strategic importance to European research and industry. Intelligent power trains, electronic control systems, electrical power storage and contactless energy transfer are key attributes of smart machines. The design and construction of these machines requires ever-closer links between the development of suitable power-train and control technologies, the mathematical and physical modelling of those technologies and their implementation in specific hardware and software components. It is on these tasks that the Intelligent Motion Platform focuses its expertise.

Key topics and areas of research

Structure and design

Intelligent actuator design is concerned with the components of an actuator and their function. The various physical attributes involved need to be individually optimised and calibrated with each other. This requires expertise in electromagnetism, thermal behaviour and materials science. Appropriate use of research and development tools in simulation experiments makes it possible to optimise the design of the actuator. This involves:

  • Optimised magnetic circuits
  • Smart materials
  • Efficient energy transformation
  • Multiphysics modelling

Energy supply

There are two key aspects to energy supply. First, the energy either needs to be transferred to where it is needed or already be available there. Second, the actuators need to receive electricity in an appropriate form. Power electronics creates the link between supplier and consumer. The Intelligent Motion Platform carries out research in the following areas:

  • Wireless energy transfer
  • Electrical storage systems
  • High-efficiency converters
  • Compact topology

Modelling and control

We use modelling and simulation techniques to support the development and implementation of control systems. Our numerical methods are based on the physical properties of the control device, which we model using differential equations and stochastic processes. Technical realisation requires the resulting algorithms to be implemented efficiently in the hardware, which in turn means that the design of the interface requires skills in the following areas:

  • Algorithms and numerical methods
  • Machine learning
  • Mathematical optimisation
  • Resource-efficient implementation

Research projects

Trajectory optimisation using geometric boundary conditions

SCARA robots are much in demand because they are precise, robust, fast and take up little space. It is, however, essential that their movements be optimally planned. As part of its work, this project developed a software application which not only calculates optimal, collision-free trajectories but also meets a range of user-oriented requirements. The calculated trajectory is smooth, compatible with the laws of motion and can be precisely monitored via the robot’s feedback controller. Moreover, thanks to the speed at which the software performs its calculations, trajectories can be calculated in real time on an embedded CPU. Read more (in German)

UMARS – Unmanned Modular Airborne Research System

This device should be cheaper to operate than the manned aircraft currently in use. A key part of the project was the development of an intelligently managed battery system. Thanks to its use of rapid-charge high-energy lithium-polymer battery cells, UMARS is able to remain airborne for up to four hours. Read more


The GyroP project developed a flywheel as a means of investigating what contribution kinetic energy storage devices could make to future energy supply. The demonstration flywheel will generate 1.5kW of power and store 0.3kWh of energy. Its individual components are currently being developed and modelled. Read more

Participating institutes & centres