Learning safe predictive control with gaussian processes

Van Niekerk, Benjamin
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Learning-based methods have recently become popular in control engineering, achieving good performance on a number of challenging tasks. However, in complex environments where data efficiency and safety are critical, current methods remain unsatisfactory. As a step toward addressing these shortcomings, we propose a learning-based approach that combines Gaussian process regression with model predictive control. Using sparse spectrum Gaussian processes, we extend previous work by learning a model of the dynamics incrementally from a stream ofsensory data. Utilizinglearned dynamics and model uncertainty, we develop a controller that can learn and plan in real-time under non-linear constraints. We test our approach on pendulum and cartpole swing up problems and demonstrate the benefits of learning on a challenging autonomous racing task. Additionally, we show that learned dynamics models can be transferred to new tasks without any additional training.
A research report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics to the Faculty of Science University of Witwatersrand, 2019
Van Niekerk, Benjamin Lipman (2019) Learning safe predictive control with Gaussian processes, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <http://hdl.handle.net/10539/29536>