Geometry of Jacobi curves. I Academic Article uri icon


  • Jacobi curves are deep generalizations of the spaces of "Jacobi fields" along Riemannian geodesics. Actually, Jacobi curves are curves in the Lagrange Grassmannians. In our paper we develop differential geometry of these curves which provides basic feedback or gauge invariants for a wide class of smooth control systems and geometric structures. Two principal invariants are the generalized Ricci curvature, which is an invariant of the parametrized curve in the Lagrange Grassmannian endowing the curve with a natural projective structure, and a fundamental form, which is a fourth-order differential on the curve. The so-called rank 1 curves are studied in more detail. Jacobi curves of this class are associated with systems with scalar controls and with rank 2 vector distributions. In the forthcoming second part of the paper we will present the comparison theorems (i.e., the estimates for the conjugate points in terms of our invariants) for rank 1 curves and introduce an important class of "flat curves".

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Agrachev, A. A., & Zelenko, I.

citation count

  • 43

complete list of authors

  • Agrachev, AA||Zelenko, I

publication date

  • January 2002