Control Systems

We have an established track record for applied research dating back more than 40 years.

We work with a variety of partners including BAE Systems, Co-Catalyst Limited, Jaguar Land Rover, SET Derby, Southern Rail, Telent, and Transport for London to address specific challenges whose work has been funded by a range of bodies including RSSB and EPSRC.

Much of our current research focuses on the rail industry in line with the Digital Railway agenda, which is the industry plan to tackle the UK’s rail capacity challenge. This research has a wide application across the transport sector as can be illustrated by four current projects.

Vehicle monitoring and prognostics systems

We are developing methodologies to monitor full bogie system condition. The algorithms and on-board sensor package in development will assess the need for maintenance as the vehicle negotiates the rail network. This move to automated, intelligent condition-based maintenance will reduce the time that rolling stock is out of commission, ensuring more cost effective and safer operation.

Faster, safer boarding and alighting

We are investigating ways to enhance the traveller experience by making train access easier. A key area of study is the use of advanced algorithms, sensing and actuation to automatically adjust vehicle height – in a manner similar to kneeling buses – so that train and platform height are levelled and platform gaps are reduced.


Repoint is our revolutionary track switch that increases safety and enhances network capacity. They are currently developing the mechatronic design of this system and algorithms that will assess switch maintenance status, reducing the need for physical inspections and improving network efficiency and safety.

Vehicle-based switching

As part of the European In2Rail project, we are exploring ways to support vehicle-based switching so that route selection can move on-board the vehicle – rather than being controlled by the infrastructure. We are investigating self-steering mechatronic vehicle guidance technology that will enable this transition, making vehicles more autonomous and safer. These solutions support the development of safer, less fallible systems for the rail industry. They also highlight ways in which systems technology can support vehicle safety and maintenance as well as navigation and route planning in semi- and fully autonomous vehicles across the transport network.

Leading Research Group

Control Systems Research Group