Prof. J. Baillieul

Mechanical Engineering

Electrical and Computer Engineering


ENG ME/SE740: Vision, Robotics, and Planning – Intelligent Machines [PDF version]

Course Outline: (Spring 2017)


1. Foundations of intelligent mechatronics


2. Geometry and robot coordinate systems

(i) Rigid motions of R3

(ii) Kinematic pairs and the lattice of subgroups of the special Euclidean group

(iii)Free vectors and bound vectors


3. Euclidean group theory and kinematic equations

(i) The Denavit-Hartenberg formalism

(ii) The product of exponentials formula

(iii) Screw theory


4. Differential relationships

(i) The manipulator Jacobian for spatial mechanisms

(ii) The propagation of joint velocities and forces


5. Specifying robot motions

(i) The theory of motion interpolation

(ii) Nonholonomic motion planning


6. Analytical dynamics of mechanical systems

(i) Lagrangian mechanics

(ii) Hamiltonian mechanics


7. Control: basic issues

(i) Controllability

(ii) Design and synthesis

(iii) Stability of feedback control laws


8. Control: information-based control

(i) Nyquist frequency and Shannon’s theorem

(ii) The zero order hold and quantization alternatives

(iii)The data-rate theorem and feedback control with communications constraints


9. Advanced topics: algebraic and geometric methods

(i) Nonlinear/geometric control theory

(ii) Motion control in living organisms: paradigms and puzzles

(iii)Networked control systems

(iv)Graph theoretic structures for distributed control and control motifs


10. Advanced topics: cooperative control

(i) Control of multiple mobile agents

(ii) Data-structures for distributed control of mobile agents

(iii) Distributed sensing and sensor fusion

(iv) The blind robot problem


11. Advanced topics: information-based control theory

(i) Connecting control theory to information theory

(ii) Information gradients

(iii) Optimal reconnaissance strategies

(iv)  Control communication complexity


12. Advanced topics: kinematic redundancy

(i) Surveyof techniques for for resolving kinematic redundancy

(ii)The extended Jacobian technique and constrained motions

(iii)Super-articulated mechanical systems

Suggested Reading


Richard M. Murray, Zexiang Li, S. Shankar Sastry, A Mathematical Introduction to ROBOTIC MANIPULATION,CRC Press, BocaRaton,1994.

Handy window for on-line price shopping:


Other books:



Bloch, J. Baillieul, P.E. Crouch & J.E. Marsden, Nonholonomic Mechanics and Control, Springer-Verlag, Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics, ISBN:0-387-95535-6,483 pages.


Kumar, N. Leonard, & A.S. Morse(Eds.), Cooperative Control, Springer Lecture Notes in Control and Information Sciences, V. 309, Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, ISBN 3-540-22861-6,2005.


Suggested further reading:


J. Baillieul, Shankar Sastry, and Hector J. Sussmann (Editors), Essays on Mathematical Robotics, (IMA Volumes in Mathematics and Its Applications, V. 104.), Springer Verlag; ISBN: 0387985964,1998.


J.Baillieul & J.C.Willems(Editors), Mathematical Control Theory, Hardcover -385pages,SpringerVerlag; ISBN: 0387983171,1998.


Brockett,R.W., ed., Robotics, Proceedings of Symposia in Applied Mathematics, Vol. 41, American Math. Soc., Providence, 1990.


Bruno Siciliano, Lorenzo Sciavicco, Luigi Villani, & Giuseppe Oriolo, Robotics: Modelling, Planning and Control ,Springer; 1st edition,NewYork,ISBN-10: 1846286417,ISBN-13: 978-1846286414,Dec.,2008.


John J. Craig, Introduction to Robotics: Mechanics and Control, 3rd Ed., Prentice Hall 2004.


Mark W. Spong, Seth Hutchinson, and M. Vidyasagar, Robot Modeling and Control John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2006.


Francesco Bullo, Jorge Cortes, Sonia Martinez, Distributed Control of Robotic Networks: A Mathematical Approach to Motion Coordination Algorithms, (Princeton Series in Applied Mathematics), Princeton University Press, July 6, 2009, 336 pages, ISBN-10: 0691141959, ISBN-13: 978-0691141954.


Grades will be given for homework assignments (one every week or so), class participation, and most impor­tanly, for a term project which will be assigned during the first few weeks of the class.

The instructors for Spring 2017: Professor J. Baillieul, and Professor T. Djaferis,

For up-to-date information about the class, visit: <


Updated: 1/19/17)