Niche Areas

Control, image processing & machine intelligence



This niche area covers several domains related to modelling and control. In these domains, many tools are necessary to deal with the management of systems. These systems may be electrical, mechanical and all sorts of physical systems. Tools needed are both hardware and software. Basis mathematical tools are in the field of modelling and optimisation as well as others such as signal processing and intelligent systems. The projects that are developed within this niche area may be classified under the following:

Telecommunications & signal processing


The Telecommunications niche area is involved in research and development activities in various aspects of communications engineering and signal processing in telecommunication and data networks. The niche area considers theoretical aspects of wireless communications systems mainly related to optimisation problems in modern wireless and mobile communication systems. The niche area also focuses on technological aspects by the development of prototypes for next generation mobile and wireless communication systems.<\p>

Broad areas of research interest and activity include:

  • MIMO-based wireless network
  • Optimisation problems in wireless networks
  • Cognitive radio networks
  • Cross-layer design and optimisation
  • Radio resource management in wireless networks
  • Application of optimisation techniques to wireless communications
  • Data mining in wireless communications
  • Information and network security in wireless communications
  • Rural and developing world connectivity solutions

Space technologies


The South African Government has identified Space Science and Technology as one of five Grand Challenges in the 10-Year Innovation Plan of the Department of Science and Technology.  This vision has culminated in the establishment of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA).
In 2009, the French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI) initiated a postgraduate programme in Satellite Systems Engineering at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) to address the human capacity development (HCD) required in support of the national space industry.  It is the foremost Human Capacity Development Programme in Space Science and Technology (focussing on satellite systems engineering) in South Africa. 

The CubeSat standard has been selected as a practical and low-cost technology platform to provide the  hands-on experience in satellite technology.  ZACUBE-1,  a one-unit (1U) CubeSat, has been completed and   launched on the 21st November 2013: ZACUBE-2, a three-unit (3U) CubeSat, is under development.  The group is also collaborating with Stellenbosch University to develop ZA-AeroSat, a two-unit CubeSat for the QB50 constellation.  The QB50 mission is supported by the European Commission and the European Space Agency.   The expected launch of the QB50 mission is in Q3 2016.

Due to the importance of this domain, the NRF has granted F’SATI through CPUT a Research Chair within the SARChI programme.

Energy and industrial power systems

(collaboration with the Department of Electrical Engineering at TUT)

The economic well-being of a nation depends on many factors: key amongst these are the presence of sustainable source of inexpensive environmentally friendly energy, availability of robust and reliable electric power supply systems, and the competitiveness and effective productivity of the industries. Putting these in place and continuing to maintain them require the right calibre of competent manpower, as well as being in the front end of knowledge, innovation, research and development in the related scientific and technological fields.

This niche area focuses at researching new ideas, making original contributions, and technological innovations in the field of Energy, Power Engineering and Industrial Systems. The Niche Area focus is directed to the issue of power electronics, Power and distribution systems, electric motors and drives, renewable energies, coal technology, biodiesel technology, energy efficient buildings and smart and intelligent buildings.