I am confused about the difference between control systems and artificial intelligence, since both techniques can be used for automation.

Please kindly try to give answer in a nutshell, an in depth or detailed answer may cause confusion because I am beginner.

I have already put this question on another SE site at following link but the answer was detailed/in-depth.


  • $\begingroup$ What have you searched or googled so far? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 27, 2019 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ Could you please define your question a little, Control what? Remote, automatic, Control systems, For example The automation on a production line can be manual, automatic or semi automatic. As Mike says if you tell us what you are researching we will have a better idea, so we can help you. $\endgroup$
    – Brad
    Aug 27, 2019 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ @Brad plz check updated question $\endgroup$
    – engr
    Aug 27, 2019 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ This answer is very good : robotics.stackexchange.com/a/19322 $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Aug 27, 2019 at 11:53
  • $\begingroup$ A.I. is the information/codes we perceived and our body is controlled by the brain, which receives and process the info/codes and issue the commands to the body parts. $\endgroup$
    – r13
    Dec 9, 2021 at 15:23

2 Answers 2


About the control system

The control system is a device which gathers the instructions (desired behaviour) from some source (e.g G-code, sensors, etc.) and produces signals to the servos (through drivers or a power layer). It is usually quite dumb (compared with AI), and low-latency hard-real-time, however the term does not exclude the usage of AI.

About Artificial Intelligence

AI implies some sort of advanced computational behaviour:

  • Trained behavour through neural network and/or genetic algorithms
  • Advanced Logical deduction
  • etc..

Those systems are able (for example) to recognize some object/aspect on a video and trigger the consequent actions.

It requires highly intensive computation, with many-cores CPU/GPUs which make it mostly incompatible with low-latency MCU used in control systems.

Note: AI is a quite abused terminology: its specific meaning has evolved significantly and can be applied to a wide range of technologies.

AI is usually considered an input to the control system rather than part of it.


To summarize, a control system could include AI, but AI is not a control system. AI is usually considered an input to the control system rather than part of it.


Robotics is not my specialist field but I will try my best to explain this.

How you control any machine is via the control system. Obviously in Robotics this can be relatively simple or very complex depending on what the robot is doing. Control systems are today usually "controlled" by a program loaded into some sort of electronic interface device like a P.L.C. (Programmable Logic Controller). The P.L.C. will go through a series of steps looking at (information in) and activate outputs as the program requires.

Example if input a + b is present activate output 1

The program is fixed unless you alter the program the device will always perform the same functions according to defined inputs being correct and will only perform duties within the constraints of the program.

AI is similar in that it controls something but it has intelligence, it can learn.

Example if input a + b is present activate output 1 but last time it had no result because the machine had been switched to maintenance mode. So the A.I. self adjusts the program such that if input a + b is present and maintenance mode is not selected activate output 1*

The only problem with A.I is that the intelligence is only as good as the part of the program made to represent that intelligence.


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