Backstepping controller synthesis and characterizations of incremental stability

M. Zamani, N. Wouw, van de, R. Majumdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Incremental stability is a property of dynamical and control systems, requiring the uniform asymptotic stability of every trajectory, rather than that of an equilibrium point or a particular time-varying trajectory. Similarly to stability, Lyapunov functions and contraction metrics play important roles in the study of incremental stability. In this paper, we provide characterizations and descriptions of incremental stability in terms of existence of coordinate-invariant notions of incremental Lyapunov functions and contraction metrics, respectively. Most design techniques providing controllers rendering control systems incrementally stable have two main drawbacks: they can only be applied to control systems in either parametric-strict-feedback or strict-feedback form, and they require these control systems to be smooth. In this paper, we propose a design technique that is applicable to larger classes of control systems, including a class of non-smooth control systems. Moreover, we propose a recursive way of constructing contraction metrics (for smooth control systems) and incremental Lyapunov functions which have been identified as a key tool enabling the construction of finite abstractions of nonlinear control systems, the approximation of stochastic hybrid systems, source-code model checking for nonlinear dynamical systems and so on. The effectiveness of the proposed results in this paper is illustrated by synthesizing controllers rendering two non-smooth control systems incrementally stable. The first example aims to show how to recursively construct the incremental Lyapunov functions. The second example aims to show the key role of the computed incremental Lyapunov function in constructing a finite abstraction that is equivalent to the system under study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-962
Number of pages14
JournalSystems and Control Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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