Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Jianchao Zhu


This dissertation presents the development and application of an inherently robust nonlinear trajectory tracking control design methodology which is based on linearization along a nominal trajectory. The problem of trajectory tracking is reduced to two separate control problems. The first is to compute the nominal control signal that is needed to place a nonlinear system on a desired trajectory. The second problem is one of stabilizing the nominal trajectory. The primary development of this work is the development of practical methods for designing error regulators for Linear Time Varying systems, which allows for the application of trajectory linearization to time varying trajectories for nonlinear systems. This development is based on a new Differential Algebraic Spectral Theory. The problem of robust tracking for nonlinear systems with parametric uncertainty is studied in relation to the Linear Time Varying spectrum. The control method presented herein constitutes a rather general control strategy for nonlinear dynamic systems. Design and simulation case studies for some challenging nonlinear tracking problems are considered. These control problems include: two academic problems, a pitch autopilot design for a skid-to-turn missile, a two link robot controller, a four degree of freedom roll-yaw autopilot, and a complete six degree of freedom Bank-to-turn planar missile autopilot. The simulation results for these designs show significant improvements in performance and robustness compared to other current control strategies.