This technology relates to active flow control using an active roughness actuator. The active roughness actuator includes a surface having an aperture; a compliant layer covering the aperture; a chamber containing a fluid and a piezoelectric surface mechanically coupled to the chamber. The chamber is in fluid communication with the compliant layer via the at least one aperture. The piezoelectric surface is configured to displace the fluid in the chamber to control production of at least one dimple in the compliant layer proximate to the at least one aperture. This permits the controlled creation of turbulence in a fluid flow.