Myopic control of systems with unknown dynamics

Melkior Ornik, Steven Carr, Arie Israel, Ufuk Topcu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper introduces a strategy for satisfying basic control objectives for systems whose dynamics are almost entirely unknown. This setting is motivated by a scenario where a system undergoes a critical failure, thus significantly changing its dynamics. In such a case, retaining the ability to satisfy basic control objectives such as reach-avoid is imperative. To deal with significant restrictions on our knowledge of system dynamics, we develop a theory of myopic control. The primary goal of myopic control is to, at any given time, optimize the current direction of the system trajectory, given solely the limited information obtained about the system until that time. Building upon this notion, we propose a control algorithm which simultaneously uses small perturbations in the control effort to learn local system dynamics while moving in the direction which seems to be optimal based on previously obtained knowledge. We show that the algorithm results in a trajectory that is nearly optimal in the myopic sense, i.e., it is moving in a direction that seems to be nearly the best at the given time, and provide formal bounds for suboptimality. We demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed algorithm on a high-fidelity simulation of a damaged Boeing 747 seeking to remain in level flight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2019 American Control Conference, ACC 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781538679265
StatePublished - Jul 2019
Event2019 American Control Conference, ACC 2019 - Philadelphia, United States
Duration: Jul 10 2019Jul 12 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the American Control Conference
ISSN (Print)0743-1619


Conference2019 American Control Conference, ACC 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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