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Boddhu, Sanjay K., Botha, Hermanus V., Perseghetti, Ben M., Gallagher, John C..  2014.  Improved Control System for Analyzing and Validating Motion Controllers for Flapping Wing Vehicles. Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications 2: Results from the 2nd International Conference on Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications. :557–567.

In previous work, the viability of split-cycle constant-period frequency modulation for controlling two degrees of freedom of flapping wing micro air vehicle has been demonstrated. Though the proposed wing control system was made compact and self-sufficient to be deployed on the vehicle, it was not built for on-the-fly configurability of all the split-cycle control's parameters. Further the system had limited external communication capabilities that rendered it inappropriate for its integration into a higher level research framework to analyze and validate motion controllers in flapping vehicles. In this paper, an improved control system has been proposed that could addresses the on-the-fly configurability issue and provide an improved external communication capabilities, hence the wing control system could be seamlessly integrated in a research framework for analyzing and validating motion controllers for flapping wing vehicles.

Botha, Hermanus V., Boddhu, Sanjay K., McCurdy, Helena B., Gallagher, John C., Matson, Eric T., Kim, Yongho.  2015.  A Research Platform for Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicle Control Study. Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications 3: Results from the 3rd International Conference on Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications. :135–150.

The split-cycle constant-period frequency modulation for flapping wing micro air vehicle control in two degrees of freedom has been proposed and its theoretical viability has been demonstrated in previous work. Further consecutive work on developing the split-cycle based physical control system has been targeted towards providing on-the-fly configurability of all the theoretically possible split-cycle wing control parameters with high fidelity on a physical Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicle (FWMAV). Extending the physical vehicle and wing-level control modules developed previously, this paper provides the details of the FWMAV platform, that has been designed and assembled to aid other researchers interested in the design, development and analysis of high level flapping flight controllers. Additionally, besides the physical vehicle and the configurable control module, the platform provides numerous external communication access capabilities to conduct and validate various sensor fusion study for flapping flight control.

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G. Greenwood, M. Podhradsky, J. Gallagher, E. Matson.  2015.  A Multi-Agent System for Autonomous Adaptive Control of a Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle. 2015 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence. :1073-1080.

Biomimetic flapping wing vehicles have attracted recent interest because of their numerous potential military and civilian applications. In this paper we describe the design of a multi-agent adaptive controller for such a vehicle. This controller is responsible for estimating the vehicle pose (position and orientation) and then generating four parameters needed for split-cycle control of wing movements to correct pose errors. These parameters are produced via a subsumption architecture rule base. The control strategy is fault tolerant. Using an online learning process an agent continuously monitors the vehicle's behavior and initiates diagnostics if the behavior has degraded. This agent can then autonomously adapt the rule base if necessary. Each rule base is constructed using a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic evolution. Details on the vehicle, the multi-agent system architecture, agent task scheduling, rule base design, and vehicle control are provided.

Gallagher, John C., Humphrey, Laura R., Matson, Eric.  2014.  Maintaining Model Consistency during In-Flight Adaptation in a Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle. Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications 2: Results from the 2nd International Conference on Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications. :517–530.

Machine-learning and soft computation methods are often used to adapt and modify control systems for robotic, aerospace, and other electromechanical systems. Most often, those who use such methods of self-adaptation focus on issues related to efficacy of the solutions produced and efficiency of the computational methods harnessed to create them. Considered far less often are the effects self-adaptation on Verification and Validation (V{&}V) of the systems in which they are used. Simply observing that a broken robotic or aerospace system seems to have been repaired is often not enough. Since self-adaptation can severely distort the relationships among system components, many V{&}V methods can quickly become useless. This paper will focus on a method by which one can interleave machine-learning and model consistency checks to not only improve system performance, but also to identify how those improvements modify the relationship between the system and its underlying model. Armed with such knowledge, it becomes possible to update the underlying model to maintain consistency between the real and modeled systems. We will focus on a specific application of this idea to maintaining model consistency for a simulated Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle that uses machine learning to compensate for wing damage incurred while in flight. We will demonstrate that our method can detect the nature of the wing damage and update the underlying vehicle model to better reflect the operation of the system after learning. The paper will conclude with a discussion of potential future applications, including generalizing the technique to other vehicles and automating the generation of model consistency-testing hypotheses.

Gallagher, John C., Oppenheimer, Michael W..  2012.  An Improved Evolvable Oscillator and Basis Function Set for Control of an Insect-Scale Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle. Journal of Computer Science and Technology. 27:966–978.

This paper introduces an improved evolvable and adaptive hardware oscillator design capable of supporting adaptation intended to restore control precision in damaged or imperfectly manufactured insect-scale flapping-wing micro air vehicles. It will also present preliminary experimental results demonstrating that previously used basis function sets may have been too large and that significantly improved learning times may be achieved by judiciously culling the oscillator search space. The paper will conclude with a discussion of the application of this adaptive, evolvable oscillator to full vehicle control as well as the consideration of longer term goals and requirements.

Goppert, James, Gallagher, John C., Hwang, Inseok, Matson, Eric.  2014.  Model Checking of a Flapping-Wing Mirco-Air-Vehicle Trajectory Tracking Controller Subject to Disturbances. Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications 2: Results from the 2nd International Conference on Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications. :531–543.

This paper proposes a model checking method for a trajectory tracking controller for a flapping wing micro-air-vehicle (MAV) under disturbance. Due to the coupling of the continuous vehicle dynamics and the discrete guidance laws, the system is a hybrid system. Existing hybrid model checkers approximate the model by partitioning the continuous state space into invariant regions (flow pipes) through the use of reachable set computations. There are currently no efficient methods for accounting for unknown disturbances to the system. Neglecting disturbances for the trajectory tracking problem underestimates the reachable set and can fail to detect when the system would reach an unsafe condition. For linear systems, we propose the use of the H-infinity norm to augment the flow pipes and account for disturbances. We show that dynamic inversion can be coupled with our method to address the nonlinearities in the flapping-wing control system.

Greenwood, Garrison, Gallagher, John, Matson, Eric.  2015.  Cyber-Physical Systems: The Next Generation of Evolvable Hardware Research and Applications. Proceedings of the 18th Asia Pacific Symposium on Intelligent and Evolutionary Systems, Volume 1. :285–296.

Since the late 1990s the sales of processors targeted for embedded systems has exceeded sales for the PC market. Some embedded systems tightly link the computing resources to the physical world. Such systems are called cyber-physical systems. Autonomous cyber-physical systems often have safety-critical missions, which means they must be fault tolerant. Unfortunately fault recovery options are limited; adapting the physical system behavior may be the only viable option. Consequently, autonomous cyber-physical systems are a class of adaptive systems. The evolvable hardware field has developed a number of techniques that should prove to be useful for designing cyber-physical systems although work along those lines has only recently begun. In this paper we provide an overview of cyber-physical systems and then describe how two evolvable hardware techniques can be used to adapt the physical system behavior in real-time. The goal is to introduce cyber-physical systems to the evolvable hardware community and encourage those researchers to begin working in this emerging field.

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J. C. Gallagher, E. T. Matson, G. W. Greenwood.  2013.  On the implications of plug-and-learn adaptive hardware components toward a cyberphysical systems perspective on evolvable and adaptive hardware. 2013 IEEE International Conference on Evolvable Systems (ICES). :59-65.

Evolvable and Adaptive Hardware (EAH) Systems have been a subject of study for about two decades. This paper argues that viewing EAH devices in isolation from the larger systems in which they serve as components is somewhat dangerous in that EAH devices can subvert the design hierarchies upon which designers base verification and validation efforts. The paper proposes augmenting EAH components with additional machinery to enable the application of model-checking and related Cyber-Physical Systems techniques to extract evolving intra-module relationships for formal verification and validation purposes.

J. C. Gallagher, S. Boddhu, E. Matson, G. Greenwood.  2014.  Improvements to Evolutionary Model Consistency Checking for a Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle. 2014 IEEE International Conference on Evolvable Systems. :203-210.

Evolutionary Computation has been suggested as a means of providing ongoing adaptation of robot controllers. Most often, using Evolutionary Computation to that end focuses on recovery of acceptable robot performance with less attention given to diagnosing the nature of the failure that necessitated the adaptation. In previous work, we introduced the concept of Evolutionary Model Consistency Checking in which candidate robot controller evaluations were dual-purposed for both evolving control solutions and extracting robot fault diagnoses. In that less developed work, we could only detect single wing damage faults in a simulated Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicle. We now extend the method to enable detection and diagnosis of both single wing and dual wing faults. This paper explains those extensions, demonstrates their efficacy via simulation studies, and provides discussion on the possibility of augmenting EC adaptation by exploiting extracted fault diagnoses to speed EC search.

J. C. Gallagher, M. Sam, S. Boddhu, E. T. Matson, G. Greenwood.  2016.  Drag force fault extension to evolutionary model consistency checking for a flapping-wing micro air vehicle. 2016 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC). :3961-3968.

Previously, we introduced Evolutionary Model Consistency Checking (EMCC) as an adjunct to Evolvable and Adaptive Hardware (EAH) methods. The core idea was to dual-purpose objective function evaluations to simultaneously enable EA search of hardware configurations while simultaneously enabling a model-based inference of the nature of the damage that necessitated the hardware adaptation. We demonstrated the efficacy of this method by modifying a pair of EAH oscillators inside a simulated Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle (FW-MAV). In that work, we were able to show that one could, while online in normal service, evolve wing gait patterns that corrected altitude control errors cause by mechanical wing damage while simultaneously determining, with high precision, what the wing lift force deficits that necessitated the adaptation. In this work, we extend the method to be able to also determine wing drag force deficits. Further, we infer the now extended set of four unknown damage estimates without substantially increasing the number of objective function evaluations required. In this paper we will provide the outlines of a formal derivation of the new inference method plus experimental validation of efficacy. The paper will conclude with commentary on several practical issues, including better containment of estimation error by introducing more in-flight learning trials and why one might argue that these techniques could eventually be used on a true free-flying flapping wing vehicle.

J. C. Gallagher, E. T. Matson, J. Goppert.  2017.  A Provisional Approach to Maintaining Verification and Validation Capability in Self-Adapting Robots. 2017 First IEEE International Conference on Robotic Computing (IRC). :382-388.

Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) are composed of multiple physical and computing components that are deeply intertwined, operate on differing spatial and temporal scales, and interact with one another in fluid, context dependent, manners. Cyber Physical Systems often include smart components that use local adaptation to improve whole system performance or to provide damage response. Evolvable and Adaptive Hardware (EAH) components, at least conceptually, are often represented as an enabling technology for such smart components. This paper will outline one approach to applying CPS thinking to better address a growing need to address Verification and Validation (V&V) questions related to the use of EAH smart components. It will argue that, perhaps fortuitously, the very adaptations EAH smart components employ for performance improvement may also be employed to maintain V&V capability.

J. C. Gallagher, D. B. Doman, M. W. Oppenheimer.  2012.  The Technology of the Gaps: An Evolvable Hardware Synthesized Oscillator for the Control of a Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle. IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation. 16:753-768.

To date, work in evolvable and adaptive hardware (EAH) has been largely isolated from primary inclusion into larger design processes. Almost without exception, EAH efforts are aimed at creating systems whole cloth, creating drop-in replacements for existing components of a larger design, or creating after-the-fact fixes for designs found to be deficient. This paper will discuss early efforts in integrating EAH methods into the design of a controller for a flapping-wing micro air vehicle (FWMAV). The FWMAV project is extensive, multidisciplinary, and on going. Because EAH methods were in consideration during its earliest design stages, this project provides a rich environment in which to explore means of effectively combining EAH and traditional design methodologies. In addition to providing a concrete EAH design that addresses potential problems with FWMAV flight in a unique way, this paper will also provide a provisional list of EAH design integration principles, drawn from our experiences to date.

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K. E. Duncan, S. K. Boddhu, M. Sam, J. C. Gallagher.  2014.  Islands of fitness compact genetic algorithm for rapid in-flight control learning in a Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle: A search space reduction approach. 2014 IEEE International Conference on Evolvable Systems. :219-226.

On-going effective control of insect-scale Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicles could be significantly advantaged by active in-flight control adaptation. Previous work demonstrated that in simulated vehicles with wing membrane damage, in-flight recovery of effective vehicle attitude and vehicle position control precision via use of an in-flight adaptive learning oscillator was possible. A significant portion of the most recent approaches to this problem employed an island-of-fitness compact genetic algorithm (ICGA) for oscillator learning. The work presented in this paper provides the details of a domain specific search space reduction approach implemented with existing ICGA and its effect on the in-flight learning time. Further, it will be demonstrated that the proposed search space reduction methodology is effective in producing an error correcting oscillator configuration rapidly, online, while the vehicle is in normal service. The paper will present specific simulation results demonstrating the value of the search space reduction and discussion of future applications of the technique to this problem domain.

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M. Sam, S. K. Boddhu, K. E. Duncan, J. C. Gallagher.  2014.  Evolutionary strategy approach for improved in-flight control learning in a simulated Insect-Scale Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle. 2014 IEEE International Conference on Evolvable Systems. :211-218.

Insect-Scale Flapping-Wing Micro-Air Vehicles (FW-MAVs), can be particularly sensitive to control deficits caused by ongoing wing damage and degradation. Since any such degradation could occur during flight and likely in ways difficult to predict apriori, any automated methods to apply correction would also need to be applied in-flight. Previous work has demonstrated effective recovery of correct flight behavior via online (in service) evolutionary algorithm based learning of new wing-level oscillation patterns. In those works, Evolutionary Algorithms (EAs) were used to continuously adapt wing motion patterns to restore the force generation expected by the flight controller. Due to the requirements for online learning and fast recovery of correct flight behavior, the choice of EA is critical. The work described in this paper replaces previously used oscillator learning algorithms with an Evolution Strategy (ES), an EA variant never previously tested for this application. This paper will demonstrate that this approach is both more effective and faster than previously employed methods. The paper will conclude with a discussion of future applications of the technique within this problem domain.

M. Sam, S. Boddhu, J. Gallagher.  2017.  A dynamic search space approach to improving learning on a simulated Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicle. 2017 IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation (CEC). :629-635.

Those employing Evolutionary Algorithms (EA) are constantly challenged to engineer candidate solution representations that balance expressive power (I.E. can a wide variety of potentially useful solutions be represented?) and meta-heuristic search support (I.E. does the representation support fast acquisition and subsequent fine-tuning of adequate solution candidates). In previous work with a simulated insect-like Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle (FW-MAV), an evolutionary algorithm was employed to blend descriptions of wing flapping patterns to restore correct flight behavior after physical damage to one or both of the wings. Some preliminary work had been done to reduce the overall size of the search space as a means of improving time required to acquire a solution. This of course would likely sacrifice breadth of solutions types and potential expressive power of the representation. In this work, we focus on methods to improve performance by augmenting EA search to dynamically restrict and open access to the whole space to improve solution acquisition time without sacrificing expressive power of the representation. This paper will describe some potential restriction/access control methods and provide preliminary experimental results on the efficacy of these methods in the context of adapting FW-MAV wing gaits.

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Perseghetti, Benjamin M., Roll, Jesse A., Gallagher, John C..  2014.  Design Constraints of a Minimally Actuated Four Bar Linkage Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle. Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications 2: Results from the 2nd International Conference on Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications. :545–555.

This paper documents and discusses the design of a low-cost Flapping-Wing Micro Air Vehicle (FW-MAV) designed to be easy to fabricate using readily available materials and equipment. Basic theory of operation as well as the rationale underlying various design decisions will be provided. Using this paper, it should be possible for readers to construct their own devices quickly and at little expense.

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Sam, Monica, Boddhu, Sanjay K., Duncan, Kayleigh, Botha, Hermanus V., Gallagher, John C..  2016.  Improving In-Flight Learning in a Flapping Wing Micro Air Vehicle. International Journal of Monitoring and Surveillance Technologies Research (IJMSTR). 4:14.