ТОП 10:

History and Development of Automatic Control

by I. J. Nagrath


It is instructive to trace brief historical development of automatic control. Automatic control systems did not appear until the middle of eighteenth century. The first automatic control system, the fly-ball governor, to control the speed of steam engines, was invented by James Watt in 1770. This device was usually prone to hunting. It was about hundred years later that Maxwell analyzed the dynamics of fly-ball governor.

The importance of positioning heavy masses like ships and guns quickly and precisely was realized during World War I. In early 1920, Minorsky performed the classic work on the automatic steering of ships and positioning the guns on the shipboards.

A date of significance in automatic control systems is that of Hazen’s work in 1934. His work may possibly be considered as a first struggling attempt to develop some general theory to servomechanisms. The word “servo” was originated with him.

Prior to 1940 automatic control theory was not much developed and for most cases the design of control systems was indeed in art. During the decade of 1940’s, mathematical and analytical methods were developed and practiced and control engineering was established as an engineering discipline in its own rights. During the World War II it became necessary to design and construct automatic airplane pilots, gun positioning systems, radar tracking systems and other military equipment based on feedback control principle. This gave a great impetus to the automatic control theory.

The industrial use of automatic control has tremendously increased since World War II. Modern industrial processes such as manufacture and treatment of chemicals and metals are now automatically controlled.

Control engineering has enjoyed tremendous growth during the years since 1955. Particularly with advent of analog and digital computers and the perfection achieved in computer field, highly sophisticated control schemes have been devised and implemented. Furthermore, computers have opened up vast vistas for applying control concepts to non-engineering fields like business and management. On the technological front fully automated computer control schemes have been introduced for electric utilities and many complex industrial processes with several interacting variables particularly in chemical and metallurgical processes.

A glorious future lies ahead for automation wherein computer control can run our industries and produce our consumer goods provided we can tackle with equal vigour and success the socio-economic and resource depletion problems associated with such sophisticated degree of automation.


3. Look through the text and answer the questions:

1. What was the first automatic control system? 2. Where were they used? 3 Who devised the term “servo”? 4. What was designed in 1940s? 5 Why has control engineering increased since 1955? 6 What were automated computer control schemes introduced for? 7. What vistas lie ahead for automation?


4. Find out the English equivalents for the following word combinations:

Применять концепции управления; электрическое оборудование; с появлением аналоговых и цифровых компьютеров; очень сложные схемы управления; принцип обратной связи; восстановить в правах; автоматическое управление; настойчивая попытка; прежде, раньше, до; автопилот; центробежный регулятор; дать толчок; огромные перспективы.

5. Translate the groups of words:

To play a vital role; in addition to; space-vehicle systems; the design of cars; missile-guidance systems; to provide the means; manual operations; to relieve the drudgery; machine tools; fields like business and management; electric utilities; interacting variables.


6. Read the text and write the translation of it:

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