Neural Lander: Stable Drone Landing Control using Learned Dynamics

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Authors Xichen Shi, Guanya Shi, Yisong Yue, Soon-Jo Chung, Michael O'Connell, Animashree Anandkumar, Rose Yu, Kamyar Azizzadenesheli
Journal/Conference Name arXiv preprint
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Precise near-ground trajectory control is difficult for multi-rotor drones, due to the complex aerodynamic effects caused by interactions between multi-rotor airflow and the environment. Conventional control methods often fail to properly account for these complex effects and fall short in accomplishing smooth landing. In this paper, we present a novel deep-learning-based robust nonlinear controller (Neural Lander) that improves control performance of a quadrotor during landing. Our approach combines a nominal dynamics model with a Deep Neural Network (DNN) that learns high-order interactions. We apply spectral normalization (SN) to constrain the Lipschitz constant of the DNN. Leveraging this Lipschitz property, we design a nonlinear feedback linearization controller using the learned model and prove system stability with disturbance rejection. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first DNN-based nonlinear feedback controller with stability guarantees that can utilize arbitrarily large neural nets. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed controller significantly outperforms a Baseline Nonlinear Tracking Controller in both landing and cross-table trajectory tracking cases. We also empirically show that the DNN generalizes well to unseen data outside the training domain.
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language Python
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