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Title: Iterative Convex Optimization for Model Predictive Control with Discrete-Time High-Order Control Barrier Functions
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American Control Conference
Medium: X
San Diego, CA, USA
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. null (Ed.)
    Safety is a critical component in today's autonomous and robotic systems. Many modern controllers endowed with notions of guaranteed safety properties rely on accurate mathematical models of these nonlinear dynamical systems. However, model uncertainty is always a persistent challenge weakening theoretical guarantees and compromising safety. For safety-critical systems, this is an even bigger challenge. Typically, safety is ensured by constraining the system states within a safe constraint set defined a priori by relying on the model of the system. A popular approach is to use Control Barrier Functions (CBFs) that encode safety using a smooth function. However, CBFs fail in the presence of model uncertainties. Moreover, an inaccurate model can either lead to incorrect notions of safety or worse, incur system critical failures. Addressing these drawbacks, we present a novel safety formulation that leverages properties of CBFs and positive definite kernels to design Gaussian CBFs. The underlying kernels are updated online by learning the unmodeled dynamics using Gaussian Processes (GPs). While CBFs guarantee forward invariance, the hyperparameters estimated using GPs update the kernel online and thereby adjust the relative notion of safety. We demonstrate our proposed technique on a safety-critical quadrotor on SO(3) in the presence of model uncertainty in simulation. With the kernel update performed online, safety is preserved for the system. 
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