Globally stable closed loops imply autonomous behavior

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General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory
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Koditschek, Daniel E

A program of research in robotics that seeks to encode abstract tasks in a form that simultaneously affords a control scheme for the torque-actuated dynamical systems, as well as a proof that the resulting closed-loop behavior will correctly achieve the desired goals, is reviewed. Two different behaviors that require dexterity and might plausibly connote 'intelligence' - navigating in a cluttered environment and juggling a number of otherwise freely falling objects - are examined with regard to similarities in problem representation, method of solution, and causes of success. The central theme concerns the virtue of global stability mechanisms. At the planning level they lend autonomy, that is, freedom from dependence upon some 'higher' intelligence. They encourage the design of canonical procedures for model problems, which may then be instantiated in particular settings by a change of coordinates. The procedures developed result in provably autonomous behavior. Simulation results and physical experimental studies suggest the practicability of these methods.

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Copyright 1990 IEEE. Reprinted from <em>Proceedings of the 5th IEEE International Symposium on Intelligent Control</em>, Volume 2, 1990, pages 651-656. <br><br> This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the University of Pennsylvania's products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it. <br><br>NOTE: At the time of publication, author Daniel Koditschek was affiliated with Yale University. Currently, he is a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
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