Date of Award


Access Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering Physics


Doctoral Studies

Committee Chair

Mahmut Reyhanoglu, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Yechiel Crispin, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

William MacKunis, Ph.D.

Third Committee Member

Anthony Reynolds, Ph.D.

Fourth Committee Member

Taeyouny Lee, Ph.D.


A theoretical framework is established for the control of higher-order nonholonomic systems, defined as systems that satisfy higher-order nonintegrable constraints. A model for such systems is developed in terms of differential-algebraic equations defined on a higher-order tangent bundle. A number of control-theoretic properties such as nonintegrability, controllability, and stabilizability are presented. Higher-order nonholonomic systems are shown to be strongly accessible and, under certain conditions, small time locally controllable at any equilibrium. There are important examples of higher-order nonholonomic systems that are asymptotically stabilizable via smooth feedback, including space vehicles with multiple slosh modes and Prismatic-Prismatic-Revolute (PPR) robots moving open liquid containers, as well as an interesting class of systems that do not admit asymptotically stabilizing continuous static or dynamic state feedback. Specific assumptions are introduced to define this class, which includes important examples of robotic systems. A discontinuous nonlinear feedback control algorithm is developed to steer any initial state to the equilibrium at the origin. The applicability of the theoretical development is illustrated through two examples: control of a planar PPR robot manipulator subject to a jerk constraint and control of a point mass moving on a constant torsion curve in a three dimensional space.