Automation technology is an “enabling technology” for innovative products and for sustainable industrial production. It is therefore a key technology of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and will become more and more important in future. The “Systems- and Automation Technology” research focus of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology centres on technical applications, such as the automation of (highly-distributed) production systems, building automation, innovative drive systems with energy recuperation, robotics and cognitive systems, energy management in smart grids and complex communication systems, as well as methodological and technological foundations such as software and system engineering, analysis, modelling, controlling and optimising complex dynamic systems, non-linear and distributed parametric multi-variable control and soft sensor technology, sensor networks, complex micro-systems, modelling- and hardware description languages, design and automation of embedded systems, (opto-) mechatronic systems, (intelligent) sensor technology, actuator metrology, precision technology and process measuring technology.

Common to all these fields is the requirement to “think in terms of systems”, whereby the targeted use of information and automation technology can achieve a significant increase in reliability, efficiency, quality and performance compared with conventional systems. This paradigm shift from design to component- or subsystem level through to the system design of complex networked systems has hardly been systematic so far. This opens up some challenging research potential for the future in the field of methodology development from modelling to analysis, verification and synthesis. In this context, the holistic development of suitable system-, software- and hardware concepts plays a crucial role. The combination of networked computer systems (cyber systems) with technical-physical (physical) systems results in the term “cyber-physical systems”. The emerging technological revolution here has the potential to overshadow the “IT revolution” of the 20th century: Cars can use in-car and intra-car communication to autonomously avoid accidents and increase safety. Automation systems and robots can use networking and adaptive/cognitive methods to become much more flexible, increase productivity and conserve resources, and intelligent networking of energy consumers and generators in future “smart cities” has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions.