Fast and Resource-Efficient Control of Wireless Cyber-Physical Systems

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: Cyber-physical systems (CPSs) tightly integrate physical processes with computing and communication to autonomously interact with the surrounding environment.This enables emerging applications such as autonomous driving, coordinated flightof swarms of drones, or smart factories. However, current technology does notprovide the reliability and flexibility to realize those applications. Challenges arisefrom wireless communication between the agents and from the complexity of thesystem dynamics. In this thesis, we take on these challenges and present three maincontributions.We first consider imperfections inherent in wireless networks, such as communication delays and message losses, through a tight co-design. We tame the imperfectionsto the extent possible and address the remaining uncertainties with a suitable controldesign. That way, we can guarantee stability of the overall system and demonstratefeedback control over a wireless multi-hop network at update rates of 20-50 ms.If multiple agents use the same wireless network in a wireless CPS, limitedbandwidth is a particular challenge. In our second contribution, we present aframework that allows agents to predict their future communication needs. Thisallows the network to schedule resources to agents that are in need of communication.In this way, the limited resource communication can be used in an efficient manner.As a third contribution, to increase the flexibility of designs, we introduce machinelearning techniques. We present two different approaches. In the first approach,we enable systems to automatically learn their system dynamics in case the truedynamics diverge from the available model. Thus, we get rid of the assumption ofhaving an accurate system model available for all agents. In the second approach, wepropose a framework to directly learn actuation strategies that respect bandwidthconstraints. Such approaches are completely independent of a system model andstraightforwardly extend to nonlinear settings. Therefore, they are also suitable forapplications with complex system dynamics.

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