Mechanics and Nonlinear Control: Making Underwater Vehicles Ride and Glide

N.E. Leonard

Plenary lecture in Proceedings of the 4th IFAC Nonlinear Control Design Symposium (NOLCOS), Enschede, The Netherlands, July 1998, p. 1-6.


Methods from geometric mechanics and dynamical systems theory make use of structure in mechanical systems to provide insight into system behavior. Tools have been developed that exploit symmetry in Hamiltonian and Lagrangian systems for stability and bifurcation analysis. Recent work has focused on integrating such tools into mechanical control system design methods such that mechanical structure is used to advantage. In this paper, techniques are described that apply geometric mechanics and dynamical systems theory for stabilization and motion control of mechanical systems. The techniques are presented in the context of controlling underwater vehicle maneuvers. The underwater vehicle control system serves as a practical application, a rich source of challenging nonlinear control problems and an inspiration for mechanics-based control solutions.

Postscript Version (6 pages postcript)

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