The Control of Natural Motion in Mechanical Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
D. E. Koditschek

Center for Systems Science, Department of Electrical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-2157

J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control 113(4), 547-551 (Dec 01, 1991) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2896456 History: Received May 11, 1987; Revised March 11, 1991; Online March 17, 2008


This paper concerns a simple extension of Lord Kelvin’s observation that energy decays in a dissipative mechanical system. The global limit behavior of such systems can be made essentially equivalent to that of much simpler gradient systems by the introduction of a “navigation function” in the role of an artificial field. This recourse to the mechanical system’s natural motion helps transform the open-ended problem of autonomous machine design into the more structured problem of finding an appropriate “cost function” in the many situations that the goal may be encoded as a setpoint problem with configuration constraints.

Copyright © 1991 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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