On necessary and sufficient conditions for differential flatness

  • Jean Lévine
Original Paper


This paper is devoted to the characterization of differentially flat nonlinear systems in implicit representation, after elimination of the input variables, in the differential geometric framework of manifolds of jets of infinite order. We extend the notion of Lie-Bäcklund equivalence, introduced in Fliess et al. (IEEE Trans Automat Contr 44(5):922–937, 1999), to this implicit context and focus attention on Lie-Bäcklund isomorphisms associated to flat systems, called trivializations. They can be locally characterized in terms of polynomial matrices of the indeterminate \({\frac{d}{dt}}\) , whose range is equal to the kernel of the polynomial matrix associated to the implicit variational system. Such polynomial matrices are useful to compute the ideal of differential forms generated by the differentials of all possible trivializations. We introduce the notion of a strongly closed ideal of differential forms, and prove that flatness is equivalent to the strong closedness of the latter ideal, which, in turn, is equivalent to the existence of solutions of the so-called generalized moving frame structure equations. Two sequential procedures to effectively compute flat outputs are deduced and various examples and consequences are presented.


Nonlinear system Implicit system Manifold of jets of infinite order Hilbert’s 22nd problem Polynomial matrices Ideals Differential forms Moving frame Differential flatness Flat output 


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© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre Automatique et Systèmes, Unité Mathématiques et Systèmes, MINES-ParisTechFontainebleauFrance

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