The curvature: a variational approach
The curvature discussed in this paper is a rather far going generalization of the Riemannian sectional curvature. We define it for a wide class of optimal control problems: a unified framework including geometric structures such as Riemannian, sub-Riemannian, Finsler and sub-Finsler structures; a special attention is paid to the sub-Riemannian (or Carnot-Caratheodory) metric spaces. Our construction of the curvature is direct and naive, and it is similar to the original approach of Riemann. Surprisingly, it works in a very general setting and, in particular, for all sub-Riemannian spaces.
88 pages, 10 figures, (v2) minor typos corrected, (v3) added sections on Finsler manifolds, slow growth distributions, Heisenberg group