Syllabus for Robotics at NCIAE

Summer 2019

Course description

This is a special short-course for NCIAE, an introduction to feedback control, part of a larger NCIAE introductory course on robotics and automation.

General information

SMU Instructor
Rico AR Picone, PhD
NCIAE Instructor
Li Zhijie, PhD



John J. Craig. Introduction to Robotics: Mechanics and Control. Fourth Edition. Pearson, 2017. (Required.)

M.J. Mataric. The Robotics Primer. Massachusetts, 2007. (Recommended, not required.)

Norman S. Nise. Control Systems Engineering. Seventh Edition. Wiley, 2015. (Recommended, not required.)

Homebrew texts and notes

A partial text (with fill-ins) I’m writing will be posted on the Control: an introduction page.

Have this text printed before the beginning of the course. I recommend binding them such that pages can be replaced (e.g. three-ring bindable) in case there are major revisions to a section during the term. You are required to have a binder (or equivalent) ready to show by our second class to avoid a 10% deduction of your grade. (Or you can show me those lectures on your note-taking tablet, if that’s your preferred method.)

Throughout the course, you should be ready to show these (current) in any class, with threat of 10% grade deductions.

Video lectures

Most lectures will be available online at:
Use extraction code nu4n.


The WeChat group for the course is called Mechatronics & Robotics and has the following QR code.


The following schedule is tentative.

day topics introduced work
introduction, Laplace transforms, transfer functions
introduction to control, performance, feedback control system block diagrams
stability performance, stability from a transfer function
Routh-Hurwitz criterion
transient response performance, transient characteristics, exact analytical transient response characteristics of first- and second-order systems
approximate analytical transient response characteristics, transient response simulation
steady-state response performance, steady-state error
root locus analysis, sketching the root locus
sketching the root locus, generating the root locus via a computer
root locus design, gain from the root locus, complex functions
proportional controller design
final exam

Homework, quiz, & exam policies

Exam policies

The final exam will be in-class. If you require any specific accommodations, please contact me.

Calculators will be allowed and their use encouraged through the course and on the exam. Only ones own notes and the notes provided by the instructor will be allowed during the exam. No communication-devices will be allowed.

The final exam will be cumulative.

Academic integrity policy

Cheating or plagiarism of any kind is not tolerated and will result in a failing grade (“F”) in the course (at least this portion). I take this very seriously. Engineering is an academic and professional discipline that requires integrity. I expect students to consider their integrity of conduct to be their highest consideration with regard to the course material.

English/Chinese technical terminology equivalents

Below is a list of some useful terminological equivalents. Thank you Benjamin, Dr. Xu Jingman, and Dr. Shawn Duan.