Adaptive control of underactuated robots with unmodeled dynamics

Kim Doang Nguyen, Harry Dankowicz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper develops an adaptive controller for underactuated robotic systems with unmodeled dynamics. The control scheme is motivated by the applications of manipulators operating on dynamic platforms. The design decouples the system's adaptation and control loops to allow for fast estimation rates, while guaranteeing bounded deviation from a nonadaptive reference system. The proposed formulation is independent of detailed information about the system model. The control scheme is tested in different trajectory-tracking scenarios: (i) a manipulator installed on a ship operating in a high-sea state with uncertain environmental disturbances and (ii) a mobile manipulator moving across a rough terrain of unknown geometry. The simulation results illustrate the tracking performance of the proposed control algorithm, its ability to deal with unmodeled dynamics, and its robustness to measurement noise and time delay, while maintaining smooth control signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-99
Number of pages16
JournalRobotics and Autonomous Systems
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Adaptive control
  • Moving platforms
  • Underactuated robots
  • Unmodeled dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • General Mathematics


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