Date of Award

Summer 1-1-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy In Mechanical Engineering Degree


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Richter, Hanz

Second Advisor

Eric Schearer, Ph.D

Third Advisor

Dan Simon, Ph.D


This research focuses on the energy-oriented control of robotic systems using an ultracapacitor as the energy source. The primary objective is to simultaneously achieve the motion task objective and to increase energy efficiency through energy regeneration. To achieve this objective, three aims have been introduced and studied: brushless DC motors (BLDC) control by achieving optimum current in the motor, such that the motion task is achieved, and the energy consumption is minimized. A proof-ofconcept study to design a BLDC motor driver which has superiority compare to an off-the-shelf driver in terms of energy regeneration, and finally, the third aim is to develop a framework to study energy-oriented control in cooperative robots. The first aim is achieved by introducing an analytical solution which finds the optimal currents based on the desired torque generated by a virtual. Furthermore, it is shown that the well-known choice of a zero direct current component in the direct-quadrature frame is sub-optimal relative to our energy optimization objective. The second aim is achieved by introducing a novel BLDC motor driver, composed of three independent regenerative drives. To run the motor, the control law is obtained by specifying an outer-loop torque controller followed by minimization of power consumption via online constrained quadratic optimization. An experiment is conducted to assess the performance of the proposed concept against an off-the-shelf driver. It is shown that, in terms of energy regeneration and consumption, the developed driver has better performance, and a reduction of 15% energy consumption is achieved. v For the third aim, an impedance-based control scheme is introduced for cooperative manipulators grasping a rigid object. The position and orientation of the payload are to be maintained close to a desired trajectory, trading off tracking accuracy by low energy consumption and maintaining stability. To this end, an optimization problem is formulated using energy balance equations. The optimization finds the damping and stiffness gains of the impedance relation such that the energy consumption is minimized. Furthermore, L2 stability techniques are used to allow for time-varying damping and stiffness in the desired impedance. A numerical example is provided to demonstrate the results.