In industrial control systems, practical interest is driven by the fact that today's processes need to be operated under tighter performance specifications. Often these demands can only be met when process nonlinearities are explicitly considered in the controller. Nonlinear predictive control, the extension of well-established linear predictive control to nonlinear systems, appears to be a well-suited approach for this kind of problems. In this paper, an optimal nonlinear predictive control structure, which provides asymptotic tracking of smooth reference trajectories, is presented. The controller is based on a finite-horizon continuous time minimization of nonlinear predicted tracking errors. A key feature of the control law is that its implementation does not need to perform on-line optimization, and asymptotic tracking of smooth reference signal is guaranteed. An integral action is used to increase the robustness of the closed-loop system with respect to uncertainties and parameters variations. The proposed control scheme is first applied to planning motions problem of a mobile robot and, afterwards, to the trajectory tracking problem of a rigid link manipulator. Simulation results are performed to validate the tracking performance of the proposed controller.