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A LieBäcklund approach to equivalence and flatness of nonlinear systems
 922–937. IN INDIRECT OPTIMAL CONTROL OF MULTIVARIABLE SYSTEMS 317
, 1999
"... Abstract — In this paper, a new system equivalence relation, using the framework of differential geometry of jets and prolongations of infinite order, is studied. In this setting, two systems are said to be equivalent if any variable of one system may be expressed as a function of the variables of t ..."
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Abstract — In this paper, a new system equivalence relation, using the framework of differential geometry of jets and prolongations of infinite order, is studied. In this setting, two systems are said to be equivalent if any variable of one system may be expressed as a function of the variables of the other system and of a finite number of their time derivatives. This is a Lie–Bäcklund isomorphism. This quite natural, though unusual, equivalence is presented in an elementary way by the inverted pendulum and the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. The authors prove that, although the state dimension is not preserved, the number of input channels is kept fixed. They also prove that a Lie–Bäcklund isomorphism can be realized by an endogenous feedback, i.e., a special type of dynamic feedback. Differentially flat nonlinear systems, which were introduced by the authors in 1992 via differential algebraic techniques, are generalized here and the new notion of orbitally flat systems is defined. They correspond to systems which are equivalent to a trivial one, with time preservation or not. Trivial systems are, in turn, equivalent to any linear controllable system with the same number of inputs, and consequently flat systems are linearizable by endogenous feedback. The endogenous linearizing feedback is explicitly computed in the case of the VTOL aircraft to track given reference trajectories with stability; simulations are presented. Index Terms — Dynamic feedback, flatness, infiniteorder prolongations, Lie–Bäcklund equivalence, nonlinear systems.