Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control

Lino Guzzella: Efficient Monitoring and Control of Complex Systems



Guinness World Records has certified IDSC's PAC-Car II as the world's most fuel-efficient vehicle.

Hybrid Pneumatic Engine


IDSC's new hybrid pneumatic engine has proven to be 30% more efficient than conventional engines

Virtual Medical Subject


This phantom model developed at IDSC acts as a virtual medical subject for the study of the cerebrospinal fluid environment.

Formula Hybrid 09


A team of 17 mechanical and 5 electro engineers from IDSC and Lucerne University developed Switzerland's first entry in the Formula Hybrid student race.

Monte Rosa Hut


Using photovoltaic systems with large battery capacity, solar panels with hot-water reservoirs, and a cogeneration power plant, the Monte Rosa Hut is a smart building that can host up to 125 guests with minimal environmental impact.

From engines to "smart" buildings and even the human body, research in dynamics and control is crucial to the efficient monitoring, control and design of complex systems. Building on first principles in mathematics and physics, we bring a model-based approach to a wide range of environmental, commercial, social, and biomedical design challenges.

Control-oriented systems modeling and dynamic optimization and feedback control design are our main areas of research. One of our primary objectives is to combine application relevance with scientific depth, and to bridge the gap between system theory and engineering.

Our research is focused on three core areas: model-based control of energy conversion systems, building systems and medical devices.

The majority of our doctoral students are working on engine and automotive systems. Topics in this area span from active control of the combustion process over control-oriented modeling of exhaust aftertreatment systems, to energy management for hybrid powertrains. We also pursue the development of new engine systems, such as the pneumatic hybrid engine or the high-efficiency compressed natural gas (CNG) diesel pilot engine.

Following the first successful applications of these tools to building systems, we went on to accomplish several interesting projects in this area. Topics ranged from data-mining for efficient solar-system design and the integration of smart-grid systems, to energy management for autarkic buildings.

Our research on biomedical systems started with a project on the modeling of intracranial and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics. A follow-up project called “SmartShunt – The Hydrocephalus Project” was aimed at conducting basic research necessary for the subsequent development of a smart CSF shunt for the treatment of normal pressure hydrocephalus. We extended our engagement with biomedical research with a project aimed at the mechanical support of human blood circulation. With this project, we focused on new control strategies for ventricular assist devices (VADs) and their interaction with the human heart, in collaboration with the University Hospitals of Zurich and Berne.

Our research topics

Automotive Applications

Control-oriented systems modeling, optimization, and feedback control design in automotive applications are some of our main areas of research. Our primary objective is to combine application relevance with scientific depth, and to bridge the gap between system theory and engineering.
Currently ongoing automotive research projects include model-based adaptive and cylinder individual air/fuel ratio control, emission-controlled diesel engine, optimized control of standard and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and pneumatic hybrid engine for fuel consumption reduction.


Biomedical Systems

The increased usage of mechanical devices for medical therapy makes engineering one of the important future research areas in medicine. Our biomedical systems group uses the knowledge of system dynamics and control theory to improve medical therapy devices.


Building Technology

All modern societies require a sufficient supply of affordable and sustainable useful energy. The generation of this energy and its efficient usage can be greatly improved by advanced feedforward and feedback control-systems. The optimization of such systems requires appropriate dynamic models and mathematical optimization methods.
The combination of first principles from physics and mathematical rigor with engineering intuition and creativity are the key elements with which we pursue our main objective: to contribute towards a sustainable development in building technologies. Specifically, using and further developing the theory of building dynamics and controls we strive to increase the efficiency of the total building systems.


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© 2014 ETH Zurich | Imprint | Disclaimer | 29 November 2013