Concept

# Sub-Riemannian manifold

Summary
In mathematics, a sub-Riemannian manifold is a certain type of generalization of a Riemannian manifold. Roughly speaking, to measure distances in a sub-Riemannian manifold, you are allowed to go only along curves tangent to so-called horizontal subspaces. Sub-Riemannian manifolds (and so, a fortiori, Riemannian manifolds) carry a natural intrinsic metric called the metric of Carnot–Carathéodory. The Hausdorff dimension of such metric spaces is always an integer and larger than its topological dimension (unless it is actually a Riemannian manifold). Sub-Riemannian manifolds often occur in the study of constrained systems in classical mechanics, such as the motion of vehicles on a surface, the motion of robot arms, and the orbital dynamics of satellites. Geometric quantities such as the Berry phase may be understood in the language of sub-Riemannian geometry. The Heisenberg group, important to quantum mechanics, carries a natural sub-Riemannian structure. By a distribution on we mean a subbundle of the tangent bundle of . Given a distribution a vector field in is called horizontal. A curve on is called horizontal if for any A distribution on is called completely non-integrable if for any we have that any tangent vector can be presented as a linear combination of vectors of the following types where all vector fields are horizontal. A sub-Riemannian manifold is a triple , where is a differentiable manifold, is a completely non-integrable "horizontal" distribution and is a smooth section of positive-definite quadratic forms on . Any sub-Riemannian manifold carries the natural intrinsic metric, called the metric of Carnot–Carathéodory, defined as where infimum is taken along all horizontal curves such that , . A position of a car on the plane is determined by three parameters: two coordinates and for the location and an angle which describes the orientation of the car.