Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Applied probabilistic inference: Model estimation for HVAC predictive controls and all-weather perception for autonomous vehicles
by Radecki, Peter Paul, Ph.D., Cornell University, 2016, 168; 10183852
Abstract (Summary)

Probabilistic inference and reasoning is applied to two major application areas: HVAC controls in buildings and autonomous vehicle perception. Although the physical domains differ vastly, across both applications the presented novel contributions share real-time inference of stochastic systems for improved control capability and performance. Besides performing simple state estimation, Kalman Filters in both applications are extended for model inference—estimating thermal model parameters and disturbances in buildings and dynamic object classification for perception in autonomous vehicles.

Part one of this study proposes a general, scalable method to learn control-oriented thermal models of buildings that could enable wide-scale deployment of cost-effective predictive controls. An Unscented Kalman Filter augmented for parameter and disturbance estimation is shown to accurately learn and predict a building’s thermal response. By leveraging building topology and measurement data, the filter quickly learns parameters of a thermal network during periods of known or constrained loads and then characterizes unknown loads in order to provide accurate 24+ hour energy predictions. Performance was validated with EnergyPlus simulation data across a year-long study of a passive building.

The method is extended to multi-zone actively controlled buildings by using the controller to excite unknown portions of the building’s dynamics. A simulation study demonstrates self-excitation improves model estimation. Formalization of parameterization, disturbance estimation, and self-excitation routines is shown with an observability analysis. Comparing against a baseline thermostat controller, a Model Predictive Control (MPC) framework, which anticipates weather uncertainty and time-varying temperature set-points, is shown to improve energy savings and occupant comfort.

Part two of this study presents a novel probabilistic perception algorithm as a real-time joint solution to data association, object tracking, and object classification for an autonomous ground vehicle (AGV) in all-weather conditions. The presented algorithm extends a Rao-Blackwellized Particle Filter originally built for Cornell’s AGV for the DARPA Urban Challenge (DUC) to include multiple model tracking for classification. Additionally a state-of-the-art vision detection algorithm that includes heading information for AGV applications was implemented. Cornell’s AGV from the DUC was upgraded and used to experimentally examine if and how state-of-the-art vision algorithms can complement or replace lidar and radar sensors. Sensor and algorithm performance in adverse weather and lighting conditions is tested. Experimental evaluation demonstrates that sensor diversity with a joint probabilistic perception algorithm provides robust all-weather data association, tracking, and classification.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor:
Commitee:
School: Cornell University
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-B 78/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Mechanical engineering, Robotics, Computer science
Keywords: Autonomous vehicles, Estimation, Hvac building thermal modeling, Model predictive control, Perception, Probalistic inference
Publication Number: 10183852
ISBN: 978-1-369-31973-6
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