In this paper, we introduce an approach for the efficient solution of motion-planning problems for time-invariant dynamical control systems with symmetries, such as mobile robots and autonomous vehicles, under a variety of differential and algebraic constraints on the state and on the control inputs. Motion plans are described as the concatenation of a number of well-defined motion primitives, selected from a finite library. Rules for the concatenation of primitives are given in the form of a regular language, defined through a fmite-state machine called a Maneuver Automaton. We analyze the reachability properties of the language, and present algorithms for the solution of a class of motion-planning problems. In particular, it is shown that the solution of steering problems for nonlinear dynamical systems with symmetries and invariant constraints can be reduced to the solution of a sequence of kinematic inversion problems. A detailed example of the application of the proposed approach to motion planning for a small aerobatic helicopter is presented. © 2005 IEEE.