Emergent Dynamics, Control and Analytics Labs

Current Research Projects

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    Spatial dependence of agent influence in complex systems

    Identifying spatial regions where agents can influence macroscopic behavior

    The goal of this project is to determine an analytical relationship between the ability of an agent to influence the self-organizing behavior of a complex system, and its location in state space. The problem is approached by studying the local controllability of a reduced-order linearized system that is indicative of the self-organized behavior exhibited large-scale complex systems. This technique has been demonstrated numerically for a simple stop-and-go wave in traffic, while analytical relationships are being developed for the N-coupled oscillators problem.

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    Influential subspaces of connected vehicles

    Finding spatial regions where connected vehicles can positively influence traffic flow

    This project addresses the problem by identifying appropriate regions of the state space within which the control efforts exerted by a small set of agents can influence the self-organized dynamics of the ensemble. The problem is considered in the context of the ability of a small set of connected vehicles to affect the self-organized traffic jam dynamics. The methodologies adopted in this approach make use of the kinematic wave theory of traffic flow and the notion of controllability to present the novel concepts of influential subspaces and the null and event horizons. Results indicate that there exists a strong spatial dependence that governs an agent's ability to influence the self-organized dynamics of large-scale multi-agent systems. Specifically, under certain simplifying assumptions, the results indicate that connected vehicles must be able to communicate over a span of a few kilometers in order to impact traffic jam dynamics.

    Vehicles in region 1 are too far away to impact the traffic jam, and vehicles in region 3 are too close. A vehicle in region 2 is in its influential subspace, and its control actions can impact the jam evolution.

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    Effect of Adaptive Cruise Control on traffic flows

    Bringing statistical mechanics-inspired thinking to traffic flow analysis

    As adaptive cruise control (ACC) technologies improve and make way into the mainstream vehicle market, it becomes necessary to study the impact of the interaction between ACC and human-driven vehicles on traffic flow. This project studies the impact of adaptive cruise control (ACC) algorithms on the formation of self-organizing traffic jams in medium-to-high density highway traffic. Currently, models of human and ACC driving behaviors are used within a master equation framework to model the traffic jams at mesoscopic scale. Further, mean field theory is used to reduce the probabilistic traffic jam dynamics to deterministic vehicle cluster or aggregate dynamics. Current work suggests that ACC results in higher traffic flows at the cost of increased susceptibility to congestion.

    Analytical results (red dashed line) show that jams only form at higher densities as ACC penetration increases. Results from the Monte Carlo simulations agree with the analytical results. Contours indicate number of simulations (out of 1000) that resulted in a vehicular cluster (self-organized traffic jam).

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    Reliability modeling and failure analysis in complex systems

    Data-driven stochastic modeling of reliability of interconnected systems

    Complex interconnected systems, such as transit buses and intelligent vehicles, are increasingly being manufactured with a large number of interacting components or subsystems. These components may interact with each other in ways that render the use of traditional analysis methods, such as Fault Trees (FTs) and Reliability Block Diagrams (RBDs), intractable or inefficient. This project assesses alternative data-driven techniques, such as Hidden Markov Models (HMMs), which may be more adept at handling complex systems. The Hidden Markov Modeling approach has been used to generate a stochastic reliability model for transit buses, which, along with the concept of ergodicity, can be used to determine the existence of component or subsystem dependencies in a complex system.

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    Sensor effects on system performance

    Identifying impact of sensor capabilities on system performance metrics

    The proliferation of low-cost sensors has resulted in significant interest in the effects of such sensors on system performance. The goal of this project is to study the effect of sensor specifications and noise models on the performance of systems, such as the mission endurance of unmanned aerial vehicles and tracking accuracy of ground vehicles. Current approaches tackle these problems in the framework of Monte Carlo simulations, but upcoming work seeks to generate analytical results to address these issues.

    Simulations in photo-realistic virtual environments help test the role of sensors and sensing equipment specifications on UAV mission capabilities.