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An electronic throttle is a low-power dc servo drive which positions the throttle plate. Its application in modern automotive engines leads to improvements in vehicle drivability, fuel economy, and emissions. Transmission friction and the return spring limp-home nonlinearity significantly affect the electronic throttle performance. The influence of these effects is analyzed by means of computer simulations, experiments, and analytical calculations. A dynamic friction model is developed in order to adequately capture the experimentally observed characteristics of the presliding-displacement and breakaway effects. The linear part of electronic throttle process model is also analyzed and experimentally identified. A nonlinear control strategy is proposed, consisting of a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller and a feedback compensator for friction and limp-home effects. The PID controller parameters are analytically optimized according to the damping optimum criterion. The proposed control strategy is verified by computer simulations and experiments.