A model predictive control (MPC) algorithm that differs from prior MPC algorithms has been developed for controlling an uncertain nonlinear system. This algorithm guarantees the resolvability of an associated finite-horizon optimal-control problem in a recedinghorizon implementation. Given a feasible solution to the finite-horizon optimal control problem at an initial time, resolvability implies the ability to solve the optimal control problem at subsequent times.

Originally developed for the control of spacecraft in the proximity of small celestial bodies, the algorithm can also be applied to other systems (such as industrial and automotive systems) for which robust feedback control may be required. The algorithm consists of a feedforward and a feedback component. The feedforward part is computed by the on-line solution of the finite-horizon optimal control problem with the nominal system dynamics, with a relaxation of the initial state constraint at each computation.

Originally developed for the control of spacecraft in the proximity of small celestial bodies, the algorithm can also be applied to other systems (such as industrial and automotive systems) for which robust feedback control may be required. The algorithm consists of a feedforward and a feedback component. The feedforward part is computed by the on-line solution of the finite-horizon optimal control problem with the nominal system dynamics, with a relaxation of the initial state constraint at each computation.

This explicit characterization of the robustness to the uncertainties (which can easily be extended to external disturbances) is particularly desirable in a real-time autonomous control application. Furthermore, the ability to solve for an open-loop trajectory during a maneuver enables model updates (possibly based on real-time information) into the control problem to reduce model uncertainty and improve optimality for the open-loop trajectory. The algorithm has been shown to be robustly stabilizing under state and control constraints with a region of attraction composed of initial states for which solution of the finite-horizon optimal control problem is feasible.

This work was done by A. Behçet Açkmeçe and John M. Carson III of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, download the Technical Support Package (free white paper) at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Information Sciences category.

The software used in this innovation is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-42754.