CDS 270-2, Spring 2006
|Networked Control Systems
Increases in fast and inexpensive computing and communications have enabled a new generation information-rich control systems that rely on multi-threaded networked execution, distributed optimization, adaptation and learning, and contingency management in increasingly sophisticated ways. This course will describe a framework for building such systems and lay out some of the challenges to control theory that must be addressed to enable systematic design and analysis. Two examples will be used to illustrate the results and to serve as testbeds for course projects: Alice, an autonomous vehicle that competed in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and RoboFlag, a robotic version of capture the flag. Key features of these systems include highly sensory-driven, information rich feedback systems, higher levels of decision making for goal and contingency management, and multi-threaded, networked control architectures.
This course is a special topics course in which advanced students will prepare and present much of the lecture material. There is no required homework and no midterm or final exam. Course grades will be based on a course project.
All students in the course will demonstrate their knowledge of the material by analyzing or implementing a networked control system algorithm. Two testbeds are available for use by the class:
Alice - Alice is an autonomous vehicle that was built by Caltech undergraduates to compete in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. It is fully equipped with multiple terrain sensing cameras and LADARS, two GPS units and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for measuring position and orientation, and 10 CPUs of computing horsepower inteconnected by a 1 Gb/s ethernet network. A module software architecture allows new functionality to be implemented and tested with relative ease. Requires knowledge of C/C++ programming under linux.
RoboFlag - RoboFlag is a robotic version of capture the flag in which teams of 6-8 robots with 1-2 humans compete against a like team. A high fidelity simulator is available that allow full simulation of the dynamics, sensing and communications subsystems, providing realistic operation. Features include limited bitrate communication channels, limited sensor range for detecting opposing robots, and a graphical user interface for human-in-the-loop operation. Required knowlege of C/C++ program under Windows.
Project ideas (will be expanded during the term)
- Benchmark the performance of different messaging protocols (eg, broadcast, UDP, TCP) for communicating the state and terrain data on Alice
- Implement and analyze the effect of "shock absobers" (control buffers, state estimators) on RoboFlag
- Implement state estimation and/or multi-description coding on Alice to handle lost packets of terrain data