University of BRISTOL

Mechanical Engineering banner




University home > Mechanical Engineering > People > Personal Details


Dr Guido Herrmann



BSc/MSc (TU Berlin), PhD(Leic), CEng, SenMIEEE, FIET

Reader in Control and Dynamics

University Research Fellow (2011/2012)

Room 2.61
Queen's Building
University Walk



(0117) 331 5921/5939




(0117) 929 4423








Homepage Weblinks:     Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol


Bristol Robotics Laboratory


Research Summary

I am an accomplished control engineer with extensive experience in the development and implementation of novel control schemes. My research interests are in the area of nonlinear and linear robust control. Emphasis is given towards the development of novel theoretical methods which can be practically validated. A result of my MSc-thesis was a journal publication on an improved approach of Pyragas’ method for stabilization of unstable orbits in chaotic systems. During my PhD, I developed significant expertise in the area of sliding mode control and the theoretical investigation of discrete implementations of nonlinear continuous-time control systems. Case studies have been carried out for a realistic 270 state nonlinear simulation of a chemical process. After my PhD, I developed novel servo-control methods at the A*Star Data-Storage Institute. I have worked in collaboration with the University of Leicester on novel anti-windup methods which have been successfully applied to hard disk drive servo systems to allow for faster seek-settling time using secondary actuators in hard disk servos. I am also interested in intelligent adaptive neural network control approaches.


Recently, significant research effort has been directed towards important industrial issues of networked control systems.


I am leading the Nonlinear Robotics Control Group (NRCG) at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory.


Novel intelligent and robust control approaches are being applied to probe-microscopes which require sub-nano-precision.


Administrative and External Duties

I am an Associate editor of the International Journal of Social Robotics and was a Technical Editor of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics (part of the past TE cohort in 2009/2010-2014/2015).


I have been an external examiner to several PhD-degrees and a taught MSc program at universities within the UK and outside the UK.

Link to all Publications

*     University Listing (Journal, Conference Papers, Book Chapters, 2 Monographs (Springer, 2016; CRC/Taylor & Francis, 2013), 2 edited books (Springer), for books see also below)


*     Google Scholar




High Precision Control Approaches for Bristol’s Probe Microscopes

Advanced control and estimation algorithms for the transverse dynamic atomic force microscope: Observing the dynamic behaviour and interactions of single biomolecules is a long-standing goal to facilitate bio-medical research. Standard practice is to use one of several scanning probe microscopes (SPMs), principally atomic force microscopy (AFM). While AFMs can provide sub-molecular resolution of biomolecules under physiological conditions (cf. electron microscopy which uses a vacuum) there are two significant disadvantages of AFMs still to be overcome.- slow imaging rates: A typical 256x256 pixel image takes 60 seconds to produce.- excessive interaction forces during imaging: A significant challenge to imaging biomolecular interactions is that the forces typically present between the probe and the sample disturb or even damage the biomolecules.To counter these issues, we will combine the latest advances in control theory with the novel SPM instrumentation, currently in development in Bristol, to produce a new scanning probe microscope capable of imaging these fragile samples without damaging them.


This project is in collaboration with Professor Mervyn Miles (University of Bristol, Physics, see example publication), Professor Stuart C. Burgess (University of Bristol, see example publication), Professor Christopher Edwards (University of Exeter, see example publ), where I have the project lead.


Human(oid) control approaches for the Bristol Robot

The BRL humanoid robot torso is a multiple-redundant actuation system of impressive proportions. It is a heavily distributed system with sensors, actuators and micro-processor system communicating with each other over a Controller Area Network (CAN) interface. Each actuator, from finger-digit to shoulder requires to be controlled to create an overall human(oid) movement pattern. All this is to be brought to bear on 'active-touch' finger-tip investigations of object surface shape and texture.


This research project has been ongoing since October 2007, considering the PhD-research of 5 PhD-students: Dr Adam Spiers, Dr Said G. Khan, Dr Jamal Jalani, Mr Khairi Ishak and Mr Nasiruddin Mahyuddin. Focus has been to achieve safe human robot interaction via control methods. On the basic level, this embraces active compliance control for the robot torso and also for the hands of the humanoids. However, it also considers the psychological effect of the humanoid’s motion on a human counterpart. A humanoid which moves human-like might be easier accepted and may also be easily predictable in contrast to an industrial robot.


This project is carried out at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL,, a collaborative research partnership funded by the University of Bristol, the University of the West of England and HEFCE.


PhD-student project in the press!! Web / Softcopy / ANDy - Anthropomorphic natural dynamics


Link to Human-Robot Interaction Movie integrating some of the techniques above


Link to my research group on nonlinear control in robotics


Networked Control Systems (see poster)

In a Networked Control System (NCS), sensors and actuators are connected to a feedback controller through a shared communication medium which inevitably limits the amount of communication supported by the NCS, introduces delays and may become nondeterministic. On the other hand, NCSs increase modularity, flexibility and allow quick and easy maintenance at low cost. They are essential to automotive industry, avionic systems, robots  and automated manufacturing systems to reduce hardwiring and costs of installation and implementation and to increase safety. Significant theoretical problems are being solved in collaboration with industry to allow for safe and reliable integrated control dynamics. This project is in close collaboration with various industrial companies, the Royal Society and the Beijing Institute of Technology.


Dr. Stefano Longo, received the IET 2011 Control PhD Award for his work on "Optimal and Robust Scheduling for Networked Control Systems"

Book: Optimal and Robust Scheduling for Networked Control Systems: Longo, S. , Su, T. , Herrmann, G. & Barber, P. 19-Apr-2013 CRC Press, Taylor & Francis. 280 p. (Control Series).


Parameter Estimation in Vehicular Systems

In collaboration with engineers from Jaguar Land Rover (e.g. Dr Phil Barber), methods for real-time parameter estimation are being developed by Dr Nasir Mahyuddin (10.1109/TIE.2013.2276020) and more recently by Mr Wragge-Morley (10.4271/2015-01-0201). Other close collaborators are from Beijing Institute of Technology (Professor Jing Na and Professor Xuemei Ren). Funding has come from the Royal Society and Jaguar Land Rover.


Dynamic Gain Scheduling

A controller designed for linearizations at various trim/operating points of a nonlinear system using linear approaches is not necessarily well-performing or stable once scheduled with a state to retain the scheduled control law design close to the current operating point. Dynamic gain scheduling (DGS) is a technique aimed to resolve this controller scheduling issue for rapidly changing dynamics and states.  It entails scheduling the control law gains with a fast varying state variable rather than with a slowly varying state. It has been applied to aircraft system models successfully in a single-input-single output fashion, allowing also for nested loops. The aim of this work is to extend dynamic gain scheduling to general multi-variable nonlinear control systems. This work is carried out in close collaboration with Professor Mark Lowenberg and several collaborators from NUDT, China.


Constrained control methods with recent applications to Substructuring:

A significant body of research has been obtained on the problem of constrained control systems considering non-linear constraints at the input and at the output of a plant. In particular, override and anti-windup compensation methods where considered in a research collaboration with Professor Matthew Turner and Professor Ian Postlethwaite. Actuator constraints are of significance in many practical systems, considering the smallest micro-actuator (e.g. hard disk drives), actuators in chemical processes but also aircraft actuators.  Developed anti-windup approaches have been successfully tested in hard-disk servo systems but also recently for a highly non-linear hawk wind tunnel model in collaboration with the Aerospace Department at the University of Bristol. Recent work applied to the context of substructuring has been also very successful.


Current PhD-Students


*      Mr. Louis Kempton (equal co-supervision with Professor Mario Di Bernardo)

*      Mr. Kaiqiang Zhang (March 2015 onwards, co-supervisors: Professor Mervyn Miles, Dr Massimo Antognozzi )

*      Mr. Erwin Lopez Pulgarin (August 2015 onwards)

*      Mr. David Pollard (October 2015 onwards, Supervisors: Carwyn Ward & Guido Herrmann)


Current and former Post-Doctoral Researcher


*      Dr. Toshiaki Hatano,     link to personal website, works on the transverse dynamic atomic force microscope project (2013- June 2014)

*      Dr. Said Khan,                link to personal website, worked on the transverse dynamic atomic force microscope project (2011-2013)


Former PhD-Students advised at the University of Bristol


*      Dr. Robert Wragge-Morley, (now Research Associate with Professor S.C. Burgess)

*      Dr. Khairi Ishak, University of Bristol, (graduation July 2015, now at Universiti Sains Malaysia)

*      Dr. Nasiruddin Mahyuddin, University of Bristol, (now at Universiti Sains Malaysia)

*      Dr. Michael Jäntsch, graduated at the Technical University of Munich (co-supervisory effort with Professor Alois Knoll; member of examination panel together with Professors Knoll and Albu-Schäffer, link to thesis)

*      Dr. Wei Wei Yang, NUDT, China (common supervision with Dr. Mark Lowenberg and Professor Xiaoqian Chen)

*      Dr. Tingli Su, graduated at BIT, China, shared funding from the Chinese Scholarship Council and Jaguar and Landrover, UK

*      Dr. Jamaluddin Jalani

*      Dr. Said Khan,                link to personal website;  link to Human-Robot Interaction movie (supervised together with Dr. Tony Pipe and Professor Chris Melhuish)

*      Dr. Nadjib Hammoudi, University of Bristol, (Supervisor Professor Mark Lowenberg; co-advisory support, collaboration on dynamic gain scheduling)

*      Dr. Stefano Longo,        link to personal website@Cranfield,        link to personal website@Imperial,                     link to poster

IET 2011 Control PhD Award for his work on "Optimal and Robust Scheduling for Networked Control Systems"

*      Dr Jing Na, University of Bristol, graduated at BIT, China, funding from the Chinese Scholarship Council (now full Professor at Kunming University of Science and Technology)

*      Dr. Adam Spiers, University of Bristol,                       link to personal website @ Yale,                     link to project website,         link to poster


Former and Current Postdoctorate Visitors


*      Dr. Li Jian, visiting from NUDT, China, November 2010-October 2011

*      Professor Jing Na & Professor Xuemei Ren, Beijing Institute of Technology, Visiting in Summer 2010/2011/2012

*      Professor Jing Na (Kunming University of Science and Technology), Marie-Curie Fellow at the University of Bristol, 2014-2016.


Link to Group and Graduation Photos

Some Recent and Current Research Grants:

*      2014-2016                       Marie-Curie Fellowship of Professor Jing Na (EU-FP7, Project Reference: PIEF-GA-2013-625531) 


*      2012-2015                       MYOROBOTICS A framework for musculoskeletal robot development       (EU-FP7, Project Reference: 288219)    Co-Investigator


*      Jaguar Landrover Research Funds, providing funds for a PhD-student, equipment, travel, Principal Investigator


*      2011 Nov-2015 Apr       Robustness and adaptivity: advanced control and estimation algorithms for the transverse dynamic atomic force microscope, EPSRC (Ref.: EP/I034882/1+EP/I034831/1)            Principal Investigator and Project lead on both projects


*      2010 Oct-2011 Sep        Optimisation of nonlinear Networked Control Systems for advanced Network Scheduling,    Jaguar & Landrover,            Principal Investigator


*      2010 Apr-2012 Apr        Sensor-Reduced Adaptive Observation and Control in Vehicular Systems – International Joint Project – NSFC (China)            Royal Society Research Grants (Ref.: RG2474 / JP090823)        Principal Investigator


*      2008 Apr-2009 Apr        A hardware in the loop tool for control optimized communication in distributed control Royal Society Research Grants (Ref.: RK6923) Principal Investigator


Overall Value as PI: ~£ 1,000,000

Total: £ 3,470,200




General Chair of FIRA-RoboWorld Cup and FIRA-Roboworld Congress together with TAROS-Conference in Bristol in 2012

General Chair of International Conference on Social Robotics in Bristol in 2013


Co-Authored Books:


Biologically Inspired Control of Humanoid Robot Arms - Robust and Adaptive Approaches: Spiers, A, Khan, S & Herrmann, G. May 2016, Springer. 276 p.



Optimal and Robust Scheduling for Networked Control Systems: Longo, S. , Su, T. , Herrmann, G. & Barber, P. 19-Apr-2013 CRC Press, Taylor & Francis. 280 p. (Control Series).


Edited Books:

Social Robotics : 5th International Conference, ICSR 2013, Bristol, UK, October 27-29, 2013, Proceedings, Herrmann, G. , Pearson, M. J., Lenz, A., Bremner, P., Spiers, A.J., Leonards, U.B. 2013 Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 593 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science).   

In 2013, this edited book was among the 25% most downloaded books in its class.


Advances in Autonomous Robotics: Joint Proceedings of the 13th Annual TAROS Conference and the 15th Annual FIRA RoboWorld Congress, Herrmann, G. , Studley, M. , Conn, A. T. , Melhuish, C. R. , Witkowski, M. , Kim, J-H. & Vadakkepat, P. 2012 Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg. 466 p. (Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence).

In 2013, this edited book was among the 25% most downloaded books in its class.



Teaching –3rd Year projects


*      System Modelling and Controller Design of an Electric Power Steering System (2007/2008),

*      Electro Mechanical Design of a Power Assisted Steering System (2007/2008),

*      Design of an Adaptive Cruise Control System for model vehicle (2008/2009),

*      Design and Control of a uniaxially moving force feedback joystick for a haptic device (2008/2009),

*      Design and Control of a uniaxially moving force sensor for a haptic joystick / force sensor couple (2008/2009)

*      Design And Manufacture a 3-DoF Constrained Link Robotic Arm (2009/2010)

*      Mathematical Modelling and Control of a Lightweight Robotic Arm (2009/2010)

*      Design and Manufacture of a Flywheel Driving System for an Electrically Powered Vehicle (2009/2010)

*      Investigation into traction control and slip analysis of a longitudinal speed controlled car (2009/2010)

*      Design and building of Nano Positioning Stage (2009/2010)

*      Biped Humanoid Gait Control For The FIRA Robot Games (2010/2011)

*      Design of a Humanoid Robot (2010/2011)

*      The Dynamics and Control of a Humanoid Robot Arm (2010/2011)

*      Design, Manufacture & Optimisation of a Robotic Arm & End Effector for the FIRA Robotic Games (2010/2011)

*      An Investigation into Alternative Control Methods for a Robotic Arm (2010/2011)

*      Analysis and Control of High Bandwidth Micro-precision X-Y Stage (2012/2013)

*      Control Approaches for the Z control of the Atomic Force Microscope(AFM) (2012/2013)

*      Vehicle Dynamics Identification and a Race Strategy for the Aeolus Wind Powered Vehicle (2012/2013)

*      A control system for turbine control and power generation for the Aeolus wind powered vehicle (2012/2013)

*      The Conceptual Re-design of a Humanoid Robot Based on Gait (2012/2013)

*      The analysis and implementation of different gait methods for the humanoid BIOLOID (2012/2013)

*      Investigation of an Improved Method of Gait for the Panther Robot (2013/2014)

*      A Hardware-in-the-Loop Dynamic Model of the Aeolus Wind Powered Vehicle (2013/2014)

*      The Development of a Power Assisted Steering Wheel (2013/2014)

*      Gradient and Mass Estimation in a Vehicle Using Different Sensor Combinations (2013/2014)

*      Design and testing of a suspension system for a torque vectoring controlled vehicle (2013/2014)

*      Beam Dynamics and Demonstration of the Transverse Dynamic Force Microscope (2013/2014)

*      Estimation of Shear Force Effects on Bristol’s Transverse Dynamic Force Microscope (2014/2015)

*      Analysis and Control of a Transverse Dynamic Forced Microscopy (TDFM) Demonstrator (2014/2015)

*      Computational Analysis of FS car and control dynamics (2014/2015)

*      Linear Control Methods Applied to a Servo Unit (2015/2016)

*      Active Suspension Control (2015/2016)

*      Simulation of a Formula Student Car for Dynamic Events (2015/2016)

*      Integral sliding mode control of a DC motor (2015/2016)

*      Design of a control system for an Electric Powered Assisted Steering System and investigation of use of driver inertial measurement for control purposes  (2015/2016)

*      Development of realistic driver-steering model via the use of RGB-D sensor and exploration of predictive modelling of the driver (2015/2016)

link to poster

link to poster, movie 1 & 2

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster, movie

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster

link to poster



Teaching - 4th year project


*      Design Of A Longitudinal Speed Controlled Car With Gradient And Weight Estimation, (2008/2009),

*      Design and Manufacture of an Interactive Three-Dimensional Swept Volumetric Display (2009/2010),  

*      Design and Testing of a Torque Vectoring Controlled Vehicle (2010/2011)

*      Construction and Development of a Humanoid Robot (2011/2012)

*      Advanced Design, Analysis and Control of the Transverse Dynamic Force Microscope (TDFM) in the Bristol Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information (NSQI) (2013/2014)

*      Comparison of the Suitability of Various Sensorless Mass and Road Gradient Estimator Algorithms in Topographically Complex Environments (2014/2015)

*      Optimisation of Hybrid Vehicle Energy Using Vehicle Connectivity and by Providing Feedback to the Driver (2014/2015)

*      Torque Estimation in an Automotive Powertrain (2015/2016)

link to poster, paper

link to poster, paper

link to poster, movie

link to poster, Website

link to poster, PosterPaper


link to poster


link to poster


link to poster, paper


Short Biography

I received the German degree `Diplom-Ingenieur der Elektrotechnik' (with highest honours) from the Technische Universität zu Berlin and was awarded for this the Erwin-Stephan Prize. I spent a year of my undergraduate studies at Heriot-Watt-University (UK) funded by a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service. In 2001, I received a PhD from the University of Leicester. The PhD was sponsored first by the Daimler-Benz-Foundation (Germany) and later by a Marie-Curie Fellowship (European Commission). From 2001 to 2003, I worked in the mechatronics and micro-systems group of the A*Star Data Storage Institute (Singapore) doing research and consultancy for the data storage industry. From 2003 until February 2007, I was a Research Associate, Research Fellow and a Lecturer in the Department of Engineering at Leicester University. In March 2007, I took up a permanent lecturing position at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Bristol.