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Dawei Sun, Mohammad Javad Khojasteh, Shubhanshu Shekhar, Chuchu Fan

In this paper, we consider the problem of using a robot to explore an environment with an unknown, state-dependent disturbance function while avoiding some forbidden areas. The goal of the robot is to safely collect observations of the disturbance and construct an accurate estimate of the underlying disturbance function. We use Gaussian Process (GP) to get an estimate of the disturbance from data with a high-confidence bound on the regression error. Furthermore, we use neural Contraction Metrics to derive a tracking controller and the corresponding high-confidence uncertainty tube around the nominal trajectory planned for the robot, based on the estimate of the disturbance. From the robustness of the Contraction Metric, error bound can be pre-computed and used by the motion planner such that the actual trajectory is guaranteed to be safe. As the robot collects more and more observations along its trajectory, the estimate of the disturbance becomes more and more accurate, which in turn improves the performance of the tracking controller and enlarges the free space that the robot can safely explore. We evaluate the proposed method using a carefully designed environment with a ground vehicle. Results show that with the proposed method the robot can thoroughly explore the environment safely and quickly.

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Vikas Dhiman, Mohammad Javad Khojasteh, Massimo Franceschetti, Nikolay Atanasov

This paper focuses on learning a model of system dynamics online while satisfying safety constraints. Our objective is to avoid offline system identification or hand-specified models and allow a system to safely and autonomously estimate and adapt its own model during operation. Given streaming observations of the system state, we use Bayesian learning to obtain a distribution over the system dynamics. Specifically, we use a matrix variate Gaussian process (MVGP) regression approach with efficient covariance factorization to learn the drift and input gain terms of a nonlinear control-affine system. The MVGP distribution is then used to optimize the system behavior and ensure safety with high probability, by specifying control Lyapunov function (CLF) and control barrier function (CBF) chance constraints. We show that a safe control policy can be synthesized for systems with arbitrary relative degree and probabilistic CLF-CBF constraints by solving a second order cone program (SOCP). Finally, we extend our design to a self-triggering formulation, adaptively determining the time at which a new control input needs to be applied in order to guarantee safety.

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Anshuka Rangi, Mohammad Javad Khojasteh, Massimo Franceschetti

We study the problem of learning-based attacks in linear systems, where the communication channel between the controller and the plant can be hijacked by a malicious attacker. We assume the attacker learns the dynamics of the system from observations, then overrides the controller's actuation signal, while mimicking legitimate operation by providing fictitious sensor readings to the controller. On the other hand, the controller is on a lookout to detect the presence of the attacker and tries to enhance the detection performance by carefully crafting its control signals. We study the trade-offs between the information acquired by the attacker from observations, the detection capabilities of the controller, and the control cost. Specifically, we provide tight upper and lower bounds on the expected $\epsilon$-deception time, namely the time required by the controller to make a decision regarding the presence of an attacker with confidence at least $(1-\epsilon\log(1/\epsilon))$. We then show a probabilistic lower bound on the time that must be spent by the attacker learning the system, in order for the controller to have a given expected $\epsilon$-deception time. We show that this bound is also order optimal, in the sense that if the attacker satisfies it, then there exists a learning algorithm with the given order expected deception time. Finally, we show a lower bound on the expected energy expenditure required to guarantee detection with confidence at least $1-\epsilon \log(1/\epsilon)$.

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Richard Cheng, Mohammad Javad Khojasteh, Aaron D. Ames, Joel W. Burdick

Robots operating in real world settings must navigate and maintain safety while interacting with many heterogeneous agents and obstacles. Multi-Agent Control Barrier Functions (CBF) have emerged as a computationally efficient tool to guarantee safety in multi-agent environments, but they assume perfect knowledge of both the robot dynamics and other agents' dynamics. While knowledge of the robot's dynamics might be reasonably well known, the heterogeneity of agents in real-world environments means there will always be considerable uncertainty in our prediction of other agents' dynamics. This work aims to learn high-confidence bounds for these dynamic uncertainties using Matrix-Variate Gaussian Process models, and incorporates them into a robust multi-agent CBF framework. We transform the resulting min-max robust CBF into a quadratic program, which can be efficiently solved in real time. We verify via simulation results that the nominal multi-agent CBF is often violated during agent interactions, whereas our robust formulation maintains safety with a much higher probability and adapts to learned uncertainties

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Mohammad Javad Khojasteh, Vikas Dhiman, Massimo Franceschetti, Nikolay Atanasov

This paper focuses on learning a model of system dynamics online while satisfying safety constraints. Our motivation is to avoid offline system identification or hand-specified dynamics models and allow a system to safely and autonomously estimate and adapt its own model during online operation. Given streaming observations of the system state, we use Bayesian learning to obtain a distribution over the system dynamics. In turn, the distribution is used to optimize the system behavior and ensure safety with high probability, by specifying a chance constraint over a control barrier function.

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Mohammad Javad Khojasteh, Anatoly Khina, Massimo Franceschetti, Tara Javidi

The problem of attacking and authenticating cyber-physical systems is considered. This paper concentrates on the case of a scalar, discrete-time, time-invariant, linear plant under an attack which can override the sensor and the controller signals. Prior works assumed the system was known to all parties and developed watermark-based methods. In contrast, in this paper the attacker needs to learn the open-loop gain in order to carry out a successful attack. A class of two-phase attacks are considered: during an exploration phase, the attacker passively eavesdrops and learns the plant dynamics, followed by an exploitation phase, during which the attacker hijacks the input to the plant and replaces the input to the controller with a carefully crafted fictitious sensor reading with the aim of destabilizing the plant without being detected by the controller. For an authentication test that examines the variance over a time window, tools from information theory and statistics are utilized to derive bounds on the detection and deception probabilities with and without a watermark signal, when the attacker uses an arbitrary learning algorithm to estimate the open-loop gain of the plant.

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