A Caltech Library Service

The mechanics and control of robotic locomotion with applications to aquatic vehicles


Kelly, Scott D. (1998) The mechanics and control of robotic locomotion with applications to aquatic vehicles. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/50M3-1529.


This work illuminates the utility of a theory of locomotion rooted in geometric mechanics and nonlinear control. We regard the internal configuration of a deformable body, together with its position and orientation in ambient space, as a point in a trivial principal fiber bundle over the manifold of body deformations. We obtain connections on such bundles which describe the nonholonomic constraints, conservation laws, and force balances to which certain propulsors are subject, and contruct and analyze control-affine normal forms for different classes of systems. We examine the applicability of results involving geometric phases to the practical computation of trajectories for systems described by single connections. We propose a model for planar carangiform swimming based on reduced Euler-Lagrange equations for the interaction of a rigid body and an incompressible fluid, accounting for the generation of thrust due to vortex shedding through controlled coupling terms. We investigate the correct form of this coupling experimentally with a robotic propulsor, comparing its observed behavior with that predicted numerically.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:geometric mechanics, robotic locomotion, nonlinear control, theoretical hydrodynamics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Mechanical Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Murray, Richard M.
Thesis Committee:
  • Murray, Richard M. (chair)
  • Burdick, Joel Wakeman
  • Caughey, Thomas Kirk
Defense Date:26 May 1998
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-08122005-152639
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:3105
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:12 Aug 2005
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 03:07

Thesis Files

PDF (Kelly_sd_1998.pdf) - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page