Observability for switched linear systems: Characterization and observer design

Aneel Tanwani, Hyungbo Shim, Daniel Liberzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a characterization of observability and an observer design method for switched linear systems with state jumps. A necessary and sufficient condition is presented for observability, globally in time, when the system evolves under predetermined mode transitions. Because this characterization depends upon the switching signal under consideration, the existence of singular switching signals is studied alongside developing a sufficient condition that guarantees uniform observability with respect to switching times. Furthermore, while taking state jumps into account, a relatively weaker characterization is given for determinability, the property that concerns with recovery of the original state at some time rather than at all times. Assuming determinability of the system, a hybrid observer is designed for the most general case to estimate the state of the system and it is shown that the estimation error decays exponentially. Since the individual modes of the switched system may not be observable, the proposed strategy for designing the observer is based upon a novel idea of accumulating the information from individual subsystems. Contrary to the usual approach, dwell-time between switchings is not necessary, but the proposed design does require persistent switching. For practical purposes, the calculations also take into account the time consumed in performing computations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6329412
Pages (from-to)891-904
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automatic Control
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013


  • Determinability
  • observability
  • observer design
  • switched linear systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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