College of Arts and Sciences

Nonlinear Control Theory

Contact Information

Dr. Sergey Drakunov

Professor | Associate Dean of Research for COAS

Physical Sciences

Work: 386-226-7712


Sergey V. Drakunov

Dr. Drakunov research is concerned with theory of nonlinear dynamic systems including variable structure/sliding mode control, nonholonomic dynamics, and nonlinear sliding mode observers, for applications in autonomous automotive and aerospace systems. He has numerous publications, and was a PI to a number of NSF and NASA grants, as well as industrial and international research projects. He also serves on advisory boards of several high-tech companies.

1. Underactuated Systems. In this project, a variety of control problems are being investigated for underactuated systems, which are defined as systems with fewer control variables than degrees of freedom. The key future of many examples of underactuated systems is the nonlinear coupling between the directly actuated degrees of freedom and the unactuated degrees of freedom. The main objective is to control all degrees of freedom, including those that are not directly actuated, through this nonlinear coupling. A general and effective control approach involves the use of nonsmooth state and control transformations. This research has produced a number of new control analysis and design tools and provided significant advances beyond the existing knowledge base for control and underactuated systems. In particular, it has contributed to engineering technology in several areas including maneuvering of surface vessels, underwater vehicles, and aerospace vehicles as well as control of underactuated mechanisms and robotics systems.
2. Nonholonomic Systems. In this research work, a theoretical framework has been established for a class of inherently nonlinear engineering control problems using tools from differential geometric control theory. It has been demonstrated that the theoretical results obtained under this framework are immediately applicable to several classes of very difficult planning and control problems involving constrained dynamical systems. In this regard, these results have been applied to problems involving the control of constrained mechanical systems such as wheeled mobile vehicles. These results have also been applied to reorientation of space multibody systems and to attitude control of rigid spacecraft.

The focus of Will MacKunis' research includes robust and adaptive nonlinear control of unmanned aerial vehicles, hypersonic vehicles, satellites, and wheeled mobile robots. Specifically, his research focuses on the development of control strategies for nonlinear dynamic systems containing uncertainty, especially input uncertainty due to uncertain or ill-defined actuator dynamics. In the near future, his research will continue to focus on the above research results. In addition, Will's research is expanding to include the areas of: nonlinear attitude control for satellites using magnetic torquers; nonlinear tracking control of micro air vehicles with flexible wings; nonlinear estimation and control of air flow velocity fields; integrated power and attitude control systems (IPACS) for satellites; optimal control of photovoltaic and fuel cell power systems; and neural network-based control of non-affine systems.


Mahmut Reyhanoglu Dr. Mahmut Reyhanoglu

Professor | EP Ph.D. Program Coordinator

Physical Sciences

Mahmut Reyhanoglu is the Engineering Physics Ph.D. Program Coordinator and the Director of the Spacecraft Engineering Research Lab.

Sergey Drakunov Dr. Sergey Drakunov

Professor | Associate Dean of Research for COAS

Physical Sciences

Sergey Drakunov is the Associate Dean of Research for the College of Arts and Sciences. He works in the area of nonlinear controls applied to aerospace and autonomous systems.

William  MacKunis Dr. William MacKunis

Assistant Professor

Physical Sciences

Dr. William MacKunis is a physical sciences assistant professor in the Physical Sciences Department of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach College of Arts & Sciences.