DC Motor Control

Pardon the dumb question as I’m a complete beginner to this field.

I have a 1 HP DC motor that I’m currently manually controlling using a Dayton 1F792 DC Speed Control unit. I want to automate the following task:
  1. Starting from rest, increase the motor speed linearly to some final speed (normally, this would manually be done by simply turning the knob on the Dayton unit)
  2. Maintain that final speed
  3. When a certain sensor condition is met (e.g., distance measured using some rotary position sensor), slow the motor speed linearly back to rest

Any ideas on how I would implement this? Here are some of my thoughts/considerations:
  • I probably need some industrial microcontroller, especially given that sensor feedback is needed. In a low-voltage scenario, this entire task would be fairly easy to do with just an Arduino, but given that I’m working with ~200 V, I’m unsure of what exactly I need.
    • As a side note, I'd also like to know if the Dayton 1F792 unit I'm working with powers the motor with PWM or if it uses some sort of high-voltage potentiometer
  • I also have a 1 HP AC motor that I could also use, but to my knowledge, using that would require a VFD and a PLC/PID (???). This introduces more complications (e.g., programming the PID/PLC using ladder logic which I am unfamiliar with) that I would rather avoid if it can be helped.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
I would ditch the 1F792 and go with a proprietary DC motor controller like those manufactured by companies like Sprint. Take a look at RS 820-9549. I'm not sure of your supply voltage so you may have to do some searching for the right voltage rating. These can be relatively easy and cost-effective to control using Arduino, PIC microcontroller etc. because they have a run input that could be controlled by a volt free relay or transistor (saves loading the Arduino) and analog 0 - 10v speed control input (you might need to convert from PWM to analog on the Arduino. Not sure). The sensor would simply be an input into the Arduino etc. and you can control the direction by switching the lines over via contactors. These controllers work with both permanent magnet or shunt wound. I would also install a choke between the outputs and the motor to iron out noise/frequency interference so that the motor runs smoothly.