Special Issue "Real Time Dependable Distributed Control Systems"

A special issue of Electronics (ISSN 2079-9292). This special issue belongs to the section "Computer Science & Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2019.

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sergio Montenegro Website E-Mail
Informatik für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Universität Würzburg, 97074 Würzburg, Germany
Phone: +49 931 / 31-83715
Interests: real time dependable distributed control systems; aerospace applications; real time operating systems; real time communication protocols and middleware; UAS/UAV Drones/unmanned areal vehicles and systems; AUVs Under Autonomous Underwater vehicles; satellites and space vehicles

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

If it (the machine) is truly dependable, it must be distributed! Do you agree? If not, you are invited to present your thesis or idea.

That is not all, however. Distributed control has another face: the distributed closed loop and/or feedback control.

The first face: Dependability implies distributed real-time control, because we must avoid any possible single points of global failure, including physical damages. Therefore, the functionality has to be redundant (e.g., replicated) and distributed in different physical locations (of the machine). This requires robust real-time communication links and protocols, which normally cannot guarantee the delivery of each and every message. This requires control algorithms which can operate correctly, even in the case of message loss. This implies predictors and mathematical models. Replication is not enough—we need redundancy management and correct state estimation despite inconsistent, contradictory, and/or missing data and measurements, and all of this in real-time.

The second face: We have cooperating independent agents with a common goal. The actions of each one must be coordinated with all others in real-time.  These agents are distributed spatially, for example, and controlled by multiple individual controllers which are interconnected. The controllers exchange knowledge between each other and thus provide performance results similar to centralized control systems, while being more reliable (due to redundancy), easier to implement (e.g., if the subsystems are spatially distributed like satellites), and have lower communication requirements than a centralized control. On the other hand, controller design is much more demanding, since each individual controller also has to model some (or all) other agents, and state exchange between the controllers has to be implemented.

You are invited to contribute to or to contradict these theses.

Prof. Dr. Sergio Montenegro
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Real-time communication protocols and middleware
  • Redundancy and redundancy management
  • Predictors and mathematical models
  • Robust and fault-tolerant control/steering
  • Real-time operating systems for distributed real-time control
  • Distributed state estimation
  • Distributed close loop / feedback control
  • Model predictive control
  • Robust control

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Hybrid Inference Based Scheduling Mechanism for Efficient Real Time Task and Resource Management in Smart Cars for Safe Driving
Electronics 2019, 8(3), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8030344 - 21 Mar 2019
Abstract
In recent years, the focus of the smart transportation industry has been shifting towards the research and development of smart cars with autonomous control. Smart cars are considered to be a smart investment, as they promote safe driving while focusing on an alternate [...] Read more.
In recent years, the focus of the smart transportation industry has been shifting towards the research and development of smart cars with autonomous control. Smart cars are considered to be a smart investment, as they promote safe driving while focusing on an alternate transportation fuel resource, making them eco-friendly too. Safe driving is one of the crucial concerns in autonomous smart cars. The major issue for the better provision of safe driving is real time tasks management and an efficient inference system for autonomous control. Real time task management is of huge significance in smart cars control systems. An optimal control system consists of a knowledge base and a control unit; where the knowledge base contains the data and thresholds for rules and the control unit contains the functionality for smart vehicle autonomous control. In this work, we propose a hybrid of an inference engine and a real time task scheduler for an efficient task management and resource consumption. Our proposed hybrid inference engine and task scheduler mechanism provides an efficient way of controlling smart cars in different scenarios such as heavy rainfall, obstacle detection, driver’s focus diversion etc., while ensuring the practices of safe driving. For the performance analysis of our proposed hybrid inference based scheduling mechanism, we have simulated a non-hybrid version with the same system constraints and a basic implementation of inference engine. For performance evaluation, CPU time utilization, tasks’ missing rate, average response time are used as performance metrics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Time Dependable Distributed Control Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Combining Distributed Consensus with Robust H-Control for Satellite Formation Flying
Electronics 2019, 8(3), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8030319 - 13 Mar 2019
Abstract
Control methods that guarantee stability in the presence of uncertainties are mandatory in space applications. Further, distributed control approaches are beneficial in terms of scalability and to achieve common goals, especially in multi-agent setups like formation control. This paper presents a combination of [...] Read more.
Control methods that guarantee stability in the presence of uncertainties are mandatory in space applications. Further, distributed control approaches are beneficial in terms of scalability and to achieve common goals, especially in multi-agent setups like formation control. This paper presents a combination of robust H control and distributed control using the consensus approach by deriving a distributed consensus-based generalized plant description that can be used in H synthesis. Special focus was set towards space applications, namely satellite formation flying. The presented results show the applicability of the developed distributed robust control method to a simple, though realistic space scenario, namely a spaceborne distributed telescope. By using this approach, an arbitrary number of satellites/agents can be controlled towards an arbitrary formation geometry. Because of the combination with robust H control, the presented method satisfies the high stability and robustness demands as found e.g., in space applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Time Dependable Distributed Control Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Open Embedded Real-time Controllers for Industrial Distributed Control Systems
Electronics 2019, 8(2), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8020223 - 17 Feb 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper presents design details adopting open embedded systems (OES) as real-time controllers in industrial distributed control systems. OES minimize development cost and enhance portability while addressing widely known shortcomings of their proprietary counterparts. These shortcomings include the black box method of distribution [...] Read more.
This paper presents design details adopting open embedded systems (OES) as real-time controllers in industrial distributed control systems. OES minimize development cost and enhance portability while addressing widely known shortcomings of their proprietary counterparts. These shortcomings include the black box method of distribution which hinders integration to more complex systems. However, OES are highly dependent on the compatibility of each software components and essential benchmarking is required to ensure that the system can satisfy hard real-time constraints. To address these issues and the notion that OES will find broader distributed control applications, we provide detailed procedures in realizing OES based on an open source real-time operating system on various low-cost open embedded platforms. Their performance was evaluated and compared in terms of periodicity and schedulability, task synchronization, and interrupt response time, which are crucial metrics to determine stability and reliability of real-time controllers. Practical implementations, including the modernization of a multi-axis industrial robot controller, are described clearly to serve as a comprehensive reference on the integration of OES in industrial distributed control systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Time Dependable Distributed Control Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
A Task Parameter Inference Framework for Real-Time Embedded Systems
Electronics 2019, 8(2), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8020116 - 22 Jan 2019
Abstract
While recent studies addressed security attacks in real-time embedded systems, most of them assumed prior knowledge of parameters of periodic tasks, which is not realistic under many environments. In this paper, we address how to infer task parameters, from restricted information obtained by [...] Read more.
While recent studies addressed security attacks in real-time embedded systems, most of them assumed prior knowledge of parameters of periodic tasks, which is not realistic under many environments. In this paper, we address how to infer task parameters, from restricted information obtained by simple system monitoring. To this end, we first develop static properties that are independent of inference results and therefore applied only once in the beginning. We further develop dynamic properties each of which can tighten inference results by feeding an update of the inference results obtained by other properties. Our simulation results demonstrate that the proposed inference framework infers task parameters for RM (Rate Monotonic) with reasonable tightness; the ratio of exactly inferred task periods is 95.3% and 65.6%, respectively with low and high task set use. The results also discover that the inference performance varies with the monitoring interval length and the task set use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Time Dependable Distributed Control Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
A Distributed Strategy for Target Tracking and Rendezvous Using UAVs Relying on Visual Information Only
Electronics 2018, 7(10), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics7100211 - 21 Sep 2018
Abstract
This paper proposes a distributed target tracking solution using a team of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with low-cost visual sensors capable of measuring targets bearing information only. The team of UAVs moves along circular orbits and uses consensus–based distributed Kalman Filtering to [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a distributed target tracking solution using a team of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) equipped with low-cost visual sensors capable of measuring targets bearing information only. The team of UAVs moves along circular orbits and uses consensus–based distributed Kalman Filtering to identify the position of the target. We show that the centre of the orbit eventually converges to the target position using theoretical arguments and extensive simulation data. By using the same approach, we can solve the rendezvous problem: the team first scans an area in search of a target; as soon as one of the UAVs spots, the other components converge on the target position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Time Dependable Distributed Control Systems)
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