A survey of the field of control for flexible multi-link robots is presented. This research area has drawn great attention during the last two decades, and seems to be somewhat less “attractive” now, due to the many satisfactory results already obtained, but also because of the complex nature of the remaining open problems. Thus it seems that the time has come to try to deliver a sort of “state of the art” on this subject, although an exhaustive one is out of scope here, because of the great amount of publications. Instead, we survey the most salient progresses – in our opinion – approximately during the last decade, that are representative of the essential different ideas in the field. We proceed along with the exposition of material coming from about 119 included references. We do not pretend to deeply present each of the methods quoted hereafter; however, our goal is to briefly introduce most of the existing methods and to refer the interested reader to more detailed presentations for each scheme. To begin with, a now well-established classification of the flexible arms control goals is given. It is followed by a presentation of different control strategies, indicating in each case whether the approach deals with the one-link case, which can be successfully treated via linear models, or with the multi-link case which necessitates nonlinear, more complex, models.
Some possible issues for future research are given in conclusion.