Learning Vehicular Dynamics, with Application to Modeling Helicopters

We consider the problem of modeling a helicopter’s dynamics based on state-action trajectories collected from it. The contribution of this paper is two-fold. First, we consider the linear models such as learned by Authors: Pieter Abbeel, Varun Ganapathi, Andrew Y. Ng (2006)
AUTHORED BY
Pieter Abbeel
Varun Ganapathi
Andrew Y. Ng

Abstract

We consider the problem of modeling a helicopter’s dynamics based on state-action trajectories collected from it. The contribution of this pa- per is two-fold. First, we consider the linear models such as learned by CIFER (the industry standard in helicopter identification), and show that the linear parameterization makes certain properties of dynamical sys- tems, such as inertia, fundamentally difficult to capture. We propose an alternative, acceleration based, parameterization that does not suffer from this deficiency, and that can be learned as efficiently from data. Second, a Markov decision process model of a helicopter’s dynamics would explic- itly model only the one-step transitions, but we are often interested in a model’s predictive performance over longer timescales. In this paper, we present an efficient algorithm for (approximately) minimizing the pre- diction error over long time scales. We present empirical results on two different helicopters. Although this work was motivated by the problem of modeling helicopters, the ideas presented here are general, and can be applied to modeling large classes of vehicular dynamics.

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