Nested Plant/Controller Co-Design Using G-optimal Design and Continuous Time Adaptation Laws: Theoretical Framework and Application to an Airborne Wind Energy System

[+] Author and Article Information
Joe Deese

Graduate Research Assistant Dept. of Mechanical Engineering University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, North Carolina 28223

Chris Vermillion

Assistant Professor Dept. of Mechanical Engineering University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, North Carolina 28223

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4040759 History: Received January 18, 2018; Revised June 30, 2018


This paper presents a nested co-design (combined plant and controller design) formulation that uses optimal design of experiments techniques at the upper level to globally explore the plant design space, with continuous-time control parameter adaptation laws used at the lower level. The global design space exploration made possible through optimal design of experiments techniques makes the proposed methodology appealing for complex, non-convex optimization problems for which legacy approaches are not effective. Furthermore, the use of continuous-time adaptation laws for control parameter optimization allows for the extension of the proposed optimization framework to the experimental realm, where control parameters can be optimized during experiments. At each full iteration, optimal design of experiments are used to generate a batch of plant designs within a prescribed design space. Each plant design is tested in either a simulation or experiment, during which an adaptation law is used for control parameter optimization. Two techniques are proposed for control parameter optimization at each iteration: extremum seeking and continuous-time design of experiments. The design space is reduced at the end of each full iteration, based on a response surface characterization and quality of fit estimate. The effectiveness of the approach is demonstrated for an airborne wind energy system, where the plant parameters are the center of mass location and stabilizer area, and the control parameter is the trim pitch angle.

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