This paper investigates the issue of evolutionary design of controllers for hybrid mechatronic systems. Finite State Automaton (FSA) is selected as the representation for a discrete controller due to its interpretability, fast execution speed and natural extension to a statechart, which is very popular in industrial applications. A case study of a two-tank system is used to demonstrate that the proposed evolutionary approach can lead to a successful design of an FSA controller for the hybrid mechatronic system, represented by a hybrid bond graph. Generalisation of the evolved FSA controller to unknown control targets is also tested. Further, a comparison with another type of controller, a lookahead controller, is conducted, with advantages and disadvantages of each discussed. The comparison sheds light on which type of controller representation is a better choice to use in various stages of the evolutionary design of controllers for hybrid mechatronic systems. Finally, some important future research directions are pointed out, leading to the major work of the succeeding part of the research.
International Journal of Systems Science, 2015, Vol 46, Issue 2, p. 303-316