A typical undergraduate curriculum introduces linear control systems concepts only, often in a single elective course. This curriculum structure introduces challenges to student involvement in control systems research as nonlinear concepts are the focus of the majority of such efforts. With undergraduate participation in engineering research steadily increasing, nonlinear control concepts must be introduced prior to formal classroom study of linear systems. Given this reality, we propose an intense and relatively brief research program, consisting of three distinct phases. The program objective is to present a targeted educational experience in nonlinear control theory based upon the design and implementation of control laws developed for a particular nonlinear system class. Given significant interaction between the student and the faculty mentor, we believe that an excellent opportunity in undergraduate education and research will be realized, despite the student’s initial unfamiliarity with nonlinear control systems concepts. A research program consisting of three phases is proposed and initial technical results are presented to facilitate a candid discussion of the issues that may prevent undergraduate participation in research and to detail the manner in which many of these obstacles were overcome.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.