Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Kartik B. Ariyur

Committee Member 1

Dengfeng Sun

Committee Member 2

Douglas E. Adams


We present the background and motivation for ground vehicle autonomy, and focus on uses for space-exploration. Using a simple design example of an autonomous ground vehicle we derive the equations of motion. After providing the mathematical background for nonlinear systems and control we present two common methods for exactly linearizing nonlinear systems, feedback linearization and backstepping. We use these in combination with three adaptive control methods: model reference adaptive control, adaptive sliding mode control, and extremum-seeking model reference adaptive control. We show the performances of each combination through several simulation results. We then consider disturbances in the system, and design nonlinear disturbance observers for both single-input-single-output and multi-input-multi-output systems. Finally, we show the performance of these observers with simulation results.