Anytime Computation and Control for Autonomous Systems

Yash Vardhan Pant, Houssam Abbas, Kartik Mohta, Rhudii A. Quaye, Truong X. Nghiem, Joseph Devietti, Rahul Mangharam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The correct and timely completion of the sensing and action loop is of utmost importance in safety critical autonomous systems. Crucial to the performance of this feedback control loop are the computation time and accuracy of the estimator which produces state estimates used by the controller. These state estimators often use computationally expensive perception algorithms like visual feature tracking. With on-board computers on autonomous robots being computationally limited, the computation time of such an estimation algorithm can at times be high enough to result in poor control performance. We develop a framework for codesign of anytime estimation and robust control algorithms, taking into account computation delays and estimation inaccuracies. This is achieved by constructing an anytime estimator from an off-the-shelf perception-based estimation algorithm and obtaining a trade-off curve for its computation time versus estimation error. This is used in the design of a robust predictive control algorithm that at run-time decides a contract, or operation mode, for the estimator in addition to controlling the dynamical system to meet its control objectives at a reduced computation energy cost. This codesign provides a mechanism through which the controller can use the tradeoff curve to reduce estimation delay at the cost of higher inaccuracy, while guaranteeing satisfaction of control objectives. Experiments on a hexrotor platform running a visual-based algorithm for state estimation show how our method results in up to a 10% improvement in control performance while simultaneously saving 5%-6% in computation energy as compared to a method that does not leverage the codesign.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9051687
Pages (from-to)768-779
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive systems
  • autonomous systems
  • computer vision (CV)
  • predictive control
  • robust control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Anytime Computation and Control for Autonomous Systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this