Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Yung Shin

Committee Member 1

Bin Yao

Committee Member 2

Xinyan Deng


Optimal control designers usually require a plant model to design a controller. The problem is the controller's performance heavily depends on the accuracy of the plant model. However, in many situations, it is very time-consuming to implement the system identification procedure and an accurate structure of a plant model is very difficult to obtain. On the other hand, neuro-fuzzy models with product inference engine, singleton fuzzifier, center average defuzzifier, and Gaussian membership functions can be easily trained by many well-established learning algorithms based on given input-output data pairs. Therefore, this kind of model is used in the current optimal controller design.

Two approaches of designing optimal controllers of unknown nonlinear systems based on neuro-fuzzy models are presented in the thesis. The first approach first utilizes neuro-fuzzy models to approximate the unknown nonlinear systems, and then the feasible-direction algorithm is used to achieve the numerical solution of the Euler-Lagrange equations of the formulated optimal control problem. This algorithm uses the steepest descent to find the search direction and then apply a one-dimensional search routine to find the best step length. Finally several nonlinear optimal control problems are simulated and the results show that the performance of the proposed approach is quite similar to that of optimal control to the system represented by an explicit mathematical model. However, due to the limitation of the feasible-direction algorithm, this method cannot be applied to highly nonlinear and dimensional plants.

Therefore, another approach that can overcome these drawbacks is proposed. This method utilizes Takagi-Sugeno (TS) fuzzy models to design the optimal controller. TS fuzzy models are first derived from the direct linearization of the neuro-fuzzy models, which is close to the local linearization of the nonlinear dynamic systems. The operating points are chosen so that the TS fuzzy model is a good approximation of the neuro-fuzzy model. Based on the TS fuzzy model, the optimal control is implemented for a nonlinear two-link flexible robot and a rigid asymmetric spacecraft, thus providing the possibility of implementing the well-established optimal control method on unknown nonlinear dynamic systems.