Mechanical systems form an interesting class of control systems, this being so for at least two reasons. One is that there are a large number of applications that are mechanical, coming for example from aerospace and robotics. Another reason for investigating mechanical control systems is that, while they can be quite challenging, they present sufficient structure that it is possible to make significant headway towards answering basic questions. It is this latter aspect that will be emphasised in this talk, with all technical matters being illustrated by simple examples. Issues discussed will include controllability, optimal control, and motion planning.
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