Autumn Semester 2020 takes place in a mixed form of online and classroom teaching.
Please read the published information on the individual courses carefully.

151-0851-00L  Robot Dynamics

SemesterAutumn Semester 2018
LecturersM. Hutter, R. Siegwart
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish

Catalogue data

AbstractWe will provide an overview on how to kinematically and dynamically model typical robotic systems such as robot arms, legged robots, rotary wing systems, or fixed wing.
ObjectiveThe primary objective of this course is that the student deepens an applied understanding of how to model the most common robotic systems. The student receives a solid background in kinematics, dynamics, and rotations of multi-body systems. On the basis of state of the art applications, he/she will learn all necessary tools to work in the field of design or control of robotic systems.
ContentThe course consists of three parts: First, we will refresh and deepen the student's knowledge in kinematics, dynamics, and rotations of multi-body systems. In this context, the learning material will build upon the courses for mechanics and dynamics available at ETH, with the particular focus on their application to robotic systems. The goal is to foster the conceptual understanding of similarities and differences among the various types of robots. In the second part, we will apply the learned material to classical robotic arms as well as legged systems and discuss kinematic constraints and interaction forces. In the third part, focus is put on modeling fixed wing aircraft, along with related design and control concepts. In this context, we also touch aerodynamics and flight mechanics to an extent typically required in robotics. The last part finally covers different helicopter types, with a focus on quadrotors and the coaxial configuration which we see today in many UAV applications. Case studies on all main topics provide the link to real applications and to the state of the art in robotics.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe contents of the following ETH Bachelor lectures or equivalent are assumed to be known: Mechanics and Dynamics, Control, Basics in Fluid Dynamics.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits4 credits
ExaminersM. Hutter, R. Siegwart
Typesession examination
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionThe performance assessment is only offered in the session after the course unit. Repetition only possible after re-enrolling.
Mode of examinationwritten 120 minutes
Additional information on mode of examinationDuring the semester, two interim exams will be offered to help students assess their Robot Dynamics performance. These may improve the final grade if:
- the grades of both interim exams (IE) are better than the final exam: final exam grade 70% + first IE grade 15% + second IE grade 15%.
- only one IE grade is better than the final exam: final exam grade (85%) + better IE grade (15%).
- otherwise, only the final exam grade counts.
Written aids4 A4-pages personal summary + calculator
This information can be updated until the beginning of the semester; information on the examination timetable is binding.

Learning materials

Main linkLecture Slides
Only public learning materials are listed.


151-0851-00 VRobot Dynamics Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers.2 hrs
Tue10-12CAB G 11 »
M. Hutter, R. Siegwart
151-0851-00 URobot Dynamics Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers.2 hrs
Wed08-10HG E 1.2 »
M. Hutter, R. Siegwart


No information on groups available.


General : Special students and auditors need a special permission from the lecturers

Offered in

Mechanical Engineering MasterEnergy, Flows and ProcessesWInformation
Mechanical Engineering MasterRobotics, Systems and ControlWInformation
Computational Science and Engineering BachelorRoboticsWInformation
Computational Science and Engineering MasterRoboticsWInformation
Robotics, Systems and Control MasterCore CoursesWInformation