Control engineering or control systems engineering is the engineering discipline that applies control theory to design systems with desired behaviors. The practice uses sensors to measure the output performance of the device being controlled (often a vehicle) and those measurements can be used to give feedback to the input actuators that can make corrections toward desired performance. When a device is designed to perform without the need of human inputs for correction it is called automatic control (such as cruise control for regulating a car's speed). Multi-disciplinary in nature, control systems engineering activities focus on implementation of control systems mainly derived by mathematical modeling of systems of a diverse range.
Modern day control engineering (also called control systems engineering) is a relatively new field of study that gained a significant attention during 20th century with the advancement in technology. It can be broadly defined as practical application of control theory. Control engineering has an essential role in a wide range of control systems, from simple household washing machines to high-performance F-16 fighter aircraft. It seeks to understand physical systems, using mathematical modeling, in terms of inputs, outputs and various components with different behaviors; use control systems design tools to develop controllers for those systems; and implement controllers in physical systems employing available technology. A system can be mechanical, electrical, fluid, chemical, financial and even biological, and the mathematical modeling, analysis and controller design uses control theory in one or many of the time, frequency and complex-s domains, depending on the nature of the design problem.