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- Safe Control Design for Uncertain Systems
- Marvi, Zahra
- Electronic Theses & Dissertations
This dissertation investigates the problem of safe control design for systems under model and environmental uncertainty. Reinforcement learning (RL) provides an interactive learning framework in which the optimal controller is sequentially derived based on instantaneous reward. Although powerful, safety consideration is a barrier to the wide deployment of RL algorithms in practice. To overcome this problem, we proposed an iterative safe off-policy RL algorithm. The cost function that encodes...
Show moreThis dissertation investigates the problem of safe control design for systems under model and environmental uncertainty. Reinforcement learning (RL) provides an interactive learning framework in which the optimal controller is sequentially derived based on instantaneous reward. Although powerful, safety consideration is a barrier to the wide deployment of RL algorithms in practice. To overcome this problem, we proposed an iterative safe off-policy RL algorithm. The cost function that encodes the designer's objectives is augmented with a control barrier function (CBF) to ensure safety and optimality. The proposed formulation provides a look-ahead and proactive safety planning, in which the safety is planned and optimized along with the performance to minimize the intervention with the optimal controller. Extensive safety and stability analysis is provided and the proposed method is implemented using the off-policy algorithm without requiring complete knowledge about the system dynamics. This line of research is then further extended to have a safety and stability guarantee even during the data collection and exploration phases in which random noisy inputs are applied to the system. However, satisfying the safety of actions when little is known about the system dynamics is a daunting challenge. We present a novel RL scheme that ensures the safety and stability of the linear systems during the exploration and exploitation phases. This is obtained by having a concurrent model learning and control, in which an efficient learning scheme is employed to prescribe the learning behavior. This characteristic is then employed to apply only safe and stabilizing controllers to the system. First, the prescribed errors are employed in a novel adaptive robustified control barrier function (AR-CBF) which guarantees that the states of the system remain in the safe set even when the learning is incomplete. Therefore, the noisy input in the exploratory data collection phase and the optimal controller in the exploitation phase are minimally altered such that the AR-CBF criterion is satisfied and, therefore, safety is guaranteed in both phases. It is shown that under the proposed prescribed RL framework, the model learning error is a vanishing perturbation to the original system. Therefore, a stability guarantee is also provided even in the exploration when noisy random inputs are applied to the system. A learning-enabled barrier-certified safe controllers for systems that operate in a shared and uncertain environment is then presented. A safety-aware loss function is defined and minimized to learn the uncertain and unknown behavior of external agents that affect the safety of the system. The loss function is defined based on safe set error, instead of the system model error, and is minimized for both current samples as well as past samples stored in the memory to assure a fast and generalizable learning algorithm for approximating the safe set. The proposed model learning and CBF are then integrated together to form a learning-enabled zeroing CBF (L-ZCBF), which employs the approximated trajectory information of the external agents provided by the learned model but shrinks the safety boundary in case of an imminent safety violation using instantaneous sensory observations. It is shown that the proposed L-ZCBF assures the safety guarantees during learning and even in the face of inaccurate or simplified approximation of external agents, which is crucial in highly interactive environments. Finally, the cooperative capability of agents in a multi-agent environment is investigated for the sake of safety guarantee. CBFs and information-gap theory are integrated to have robust safe controllers for multi-agent systems with different levels of measurement accuracy. A cooperative framework for the construction of CBFs for every two agents is employed to maximize the horizon of uncertainty under which the safety of the overall system is satisfied. The information-gap theory is leveraged to determine the contribution and share of each agent in the construction of CBFs. This results in the highest possible robustness against measurement uncertainty. By employing the proposed approach in constructing CBF, a higher horizon of uncertainty can be safely tolerated and even the failure of one agent in gathering accurate local data can be compensated by cooperation between agents. The effectiveness of the proposed methods is extensively examined in simulation results.