
Minimax Theory and its Applications 05 (2020), No. 2, 413437 Copyright Heldermann Verlag 2020 A Degenerate Elliptic Equation for Second Order Controllability of Nonlinear Systems Pierpaolo Soravia Dip. di Matematica, Università di Padova, 35121 Padova, Italy soravia@math.unipd.it For a general nonlinear control system, we study the problem of small time local attainability of a target which is the closure of an open set. When the target is smooth and locally the sublevel set of a smooth function, we develop second order attainability conditions as explicit pointwise conditions on the vector fields at points where all the available vector fields are contained in the tangent space of its boundary. Our sufficient condition requires the function defining the target to be a strict supersolution of a second order degenerate elliptic equation and if satisfied, it allows to reach the target with a piecewise constant control with at most one switch. For symmetric systems, our sufficient condition is also necessary and can be reformulated as a suitable symmetric matrix having a negative eigenvalue. For nonlinear affine systems to obtain a necessary and sufficient condition we require an additional request on the drift. Our second order pde has the same role of the HamiltonJacobi equation for first order sufficient conditions. Keywords: Nonlinear systems, attainable sets, geometric methods, degenerate elliptic equations. MSC: 49L20; 93B05, 35F21, 35D40. [ Fulltextpdf (170 KB)] for subscribers only. 