An observer-based set-point controller for robot manipulators with flexible joints

A. Ailon, R. Ortega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


We present a globally asymptotically stable controller for point-to-point regulation of robot manipulators with flexible joints that uses only position measurement on the motor side. Existing asymptotically stable schemes for the set point regulation problem without velocity measurement address only the rigid robot case. Furthermore, these solutions ensure only local stability provided some bounds on the dynamic part of the robot model are known. Also, they require the injection of high gains into the loop to enlarge the equilibrium domain of attraction. In contrast, our solution is global, applies for robots with flexible joints and assumes only that the gravity forces are known. The underlying rationale of the design is to 'shape' the potential energy of the closed loop system so that it has an absolute minimum at the desired equilibrium, and add the required dampingto achieve asymptotic stability. This is attained by adding a (linear) observer that converges to the position required to compensate the gravity forces and injects the damping, and a 'spring-like' effect between the observer and the robot that 'pulls' the robot to the desired target. This approach to observer-based controller design differs from the classical certainly equivalent approach and effectively exploits the dynamic properties of the physical system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-335
Number of pages7
JournalSystems and Control Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1993


  • Robot control
  • linear observers
  • nonlinear control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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