Long-time behaviour of degenerate diffusions: UFG-type SDEs and time-inhomogeneous hypoelliptic processes

We study the long time behaviour of a large class of diffusion processes on RN, generated by second order differential operators of (possibly) degenerate type. The operators that we consider {\em need not} satisfy the Hörmander condition. Instead, they satisfy the so-called UFG condition, introduced by Herman, Lobry and Sussman in the context of geometric control theory and later by Kusuoka and Stroock, this time with probabilistic motivations. In this paper we study UFG diffusions and demonstrate the importance of such a class of processes in several respects: roughly speaking i) we show that UFG processes constitute a family of SDEs which exhibit multiple invariant measures and for which one is able to describe a systematic procedure to determine the basin of attraction of each invariant measure (equilibrium state). ii) We use an explicit change of coordinates to prove that every UFG diffusion can be, at least locally, represented as a system consisting of an SDE coupled with an ODE, where the ODE evolves independently of the SDE part of the dynamics. iii) As a result, UFG diffusions are inherently "less smooth" than hypoelliptic SDEs; more precisely, we prove that UFG processes do not admit a density with respect to Lebesgue measure on the entire space, but only on suitable time-evolving submanifolds, which we describe. iv) We show that our results and techniques, which we devised for UFG processes, can be applied to the study of the long-time behaviour of non-autonomous hypoelliptic SDEs and therefore produce several results on this latter class of processes as well. v) Because processes that satisfy the (uniform) parabolic Hörmander condition are UFG processes, our paper contains a wealth of results about the long time behaviour of (uniformly) hypoelliptic processes which are non-ergodic, in the sense that they exhibit multiple invariant measures.