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The trajectory tracking problem for a fully-actuated real-scaled surface vessel is addressed in this paper by designing a backstepping controller with a multivariable integral action, considering the thruster allocation problem. The performance and robustness of this controller are evaluated in simulation, taking into account environmental disturbance forces and modeling mismatch, using a docking maneuver as a reference trajectory. Furthermore, a comparison between the backstepping controller and a nonlinear position PID-Control with flatness based-feedforward is also analyzed.

The code-based McEliece cryptosystem is a promising candidate for post-quantum cryptography. The sender encodes a message, using a public scrambled generator matrix, and adds a random error vector. In this work, we consider q-ary codes and restrict the Lee weight of the added error symbols. This leads to an increased error correction capability and a larger work factor for information-set decoding attacks. In particular, we consider codes over an extension field and use the one-Lee error channel, which restricts the error values to Lee weight one. For this channel model, generalized concatenated codes can achieve high error correction capabilities. We discuss the decoding of those codes and the possible gain for decoding beyond the guaranteed error correction capability.

In this letter, we present an approach to building a new generalized multistream spatial modulation system (GMSM), where the information is conveyed by the two active antennas with signal indices and using all possible active antenna combinations. The signal constellations associated with these antennas may have different sizes. In addition, four-dimensional hybrid frequency-phase modulated signals are utilized in GMSM. Examples of GMSM systems are given and computer simulation results are presented for transmission over Rayleigh and deep Nakagami- m flat-fading channels when maximum-likelihood detection is used. The presented results indicate a significant improvement of characteristics compared to the best-known similar systems.

Reed-Muller (RM) codes have recently regained some interest in the context of low latency communications and due to their relation to polar codes. RM codes can be constructed based on the Plotkin construction. In this work, we consider concatenated codes based on the Plotkin construction, where extended Bose-Chaudhuri-Hocquenghem (BCH) codes are used as component codes. This leads to improved code parameters compared to RM codes. Moreover, this construction is more flexible concerning the attainable code rates. Additionally, new soft-input decoding algorithms are proposed that exploit the recursive structure of the concatenation and the cyclic structure of the component codes. First, we consider the decoding of the cyclic component codes and propose a low complexity hybrid ordered statistics decoding algorithm. Next, this algorithm is applied to list decoding of the Plotkin construction. The proposed list decoding approach achieves near-maximum-likelihood performance for codes with medium lengths. The performance is comparable to state-of-the-art decoders, whereas the complexity is reduced.

Large-scale quantum computers threaten the security of today's public-key cryptography. The McEliece cryptosystem is one of the most promising candidates for post-quantum cryptography. However, the McEliece system has the drawback of large key sizes for the public key. Similar to other public-key cryptosystems, the McEliece system has a comparably high computational complexity. Embedded devices often lack the required computational resources to compute those systems with sufficiently low latency. Hence, those systems require hardware acceleration. Lately, a generalized concatenated code construction was proposed together with a restrictive channel model, which allows for much smaller public keys for comparable security levels. In this work, we propose a hardware decoder suitable for a McEliece system based on these generalized concatenated codes. The results show that those systems are suitable for resource-constrained embedded devices.

Automotive computing applications like AI databases, ADAS, and advanced infotainment systems have a huge need for persistent memory. This trend requires NAND flash memories designed for extreme automotive environments. However, the error probability of NAND flash memories has increased in recent years due to higher memory density and production tolerances. Hence, strong error correction coding is needed to meet automotive storage requirements. Many errors can be corrected by soft decoding algorithms. However, soft decoding is very resource-intensive and should be avoided when possible. NAND flash memories are organized in pages, and the error correction codes are usually encoded page-wise to reduce the latency of random reads. This page-wise encoding does not reach the maximum achievable capacity. Reading soft information increases the channel capacity but at the cost of higher latency and power consumption. In this work, we consider cell-wise encoding, which also increases the capacity compared to page-wise encoding. We analyze the cell-wise processing of data in triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash and show the performance gain when using Low-Density Parity-Check (LDPC) codes. In addition, we investigate a coding approach with page-wise encoding and cell-wise reading.

Large persistent memory is crucial for many applications in embedded systems and automotive computing like AI databases, ADAS, and cutting-edge infotainment systems. Such applications require reliable NAND flash memories made for harsh automotive conditions. However, due to high memory densities and production tolerances, the error probability of NAND flash memories has risen. As the number of program/erase cycles and the data retention times increase, non-volatile NAND flash memories' performance and dependability suffer. The read reference voltages of the flash cells vary due to these aging processes. In this work, we consider the issue of reference voltage adaption. The considered estimation procedure uses shallow neural networks to estimate the read reference voltages for different life-cycle conditions with the help of histogram measurements. We demonstrate that the training data for the neural networks can be enhanced by using shifted histograms, i.e., a training of the neural networks is possible based on a few measurements of some extreme points used as training data. The trained neural networks generalize well for other life-cycle conditions.

In many industrial applications a workpiece is continuously fed through a heating zone in order to reach a desired temperature to obtain specific material properties. Many examples of such distributed parameter systems exist in heavy industry and also in furniture production such processes can be found. In this paper, a real-time capable model for a heating process with application to industrial furniture production is modeled. As the model is intended to be used in a Model Predictive Control (MPC) application, the main focus is to achieve minimum computational runtime while maintaining a sufficient amount of accuracy. Thus, the governing Partial Differential Equation (PDE) is discretized using finite differences on a grid, specifically tailored to this application. The grid is optimized to yield acceptable accuracy with a minimum number of grid nodes such that a relatively low order model is obtained. Subsequently, an explicit Runge-Kutta ODE (Ordinary Differential Equation) solver of fourth order is compared to the Crank-Nicolson integration scheme presented in Weiss et al. (2022) in terms of runtime and accuracy. Finally, the unknown thermal parameters of the process are estimated using real-world measurement data that was obtained from an experimental setup. The final model yields acceptable accuracy while at the same time shows promising computation time, which enables its use in an MPC controller.

The trajectory tracking problem for a real-scaled fully-actuated surface vessel is addressed in this paper. A nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC) scheme was designed to track a reference trajectory, considering state and input constraints, and environmental disturbances, which were assumed to be constant over the prediction horizon. The controller was tested by performing docking maneuvers using the real-scaled research vessel from the University of Applied Sciences Konstanz at the Rhine river in Germany. A comparison between the experimental results and the simulated ones was analyzed to validate the NMPC controller.

This paper presents a modeling approach of an industrial heating process where a stripe-shaped workpiece is heated up to a specific temperature by applying hot air through a nozzle. The workpiece is moving through the heating zone and is considered to be of infinite length. The speed of the substrate is varying over time. The derived model is supposed to be computationally cheap to enable its use in a model-based control setting. We start by formulating the governing PDE and the corresponding boundary conditions. The PDE is then discretized on a spatial grid using finite differences and two different integration schemes, explicit and implicit, are derived. The two models are evaluated in terms of computational effort and accuracy. It turns out that the implicit approach is favorable for the regarded process. We optimize the grid of the model to achieve a low number of grid nodes while maintaining a sufficient amount of accuracy. Finally, the thermodynamical parameters are optimized in order to fit the model's output to real-world data that was obtained by experiments.

Code-based cryptosystems are promising candidates for post-quantum cryptography. Recently, generalized concatenated codes over Gaussian and Eisenstein integers were proposed for those systems. For a channel model with errors of restricted weight, those q-ary codes lead to high error correction capabilities. Hence, these codes achieve high work factors for information set decoding attacks. In this work, we adapt this concept to codes for the weight-one error channel, i.e., a binary channel model where at most one bit-error occurs in each block of m bits. We also propose a low complexity decoding algorithm for the proposed codes. Compared to codes over Gaussian and Eisenstein integers, these codes achieve higher minimum Hamming distances for the dual codes of the inner component codes. This property increases the work factor for a structural attack on concatenated codes leading to higher overall security. For comparable security, the key size for the proposed code construction is significantly smaller than for the classic McEliece scheme based on Goppa codes.

Nowadays, most digital modulation schemes are based on conventional signal constellations that have no algebraic group, ring, or field properties, e.g. square quadrature-amplitude modulation constellations. Signal constellations with algebraic structure can enhance the system performance. For instance, multidimensional signal constellations based on dense lattices can achieve performance gains due to the dense packing. The algebraic structure enables low-complexity decoding and detection schemes. In this work, signal constellations with algebraic properties and their application in spatial modulation transmission schemes are investigated. Several design approaches of two- and four-dimensional signal constellations based on Gaussian, Eisenstein, and Hurwitz integers are shown. Detection algorithms with reduced complexity are proposed. It is shown, that the proposed Eisenstein and Hurwitz constellations combined with the proposed suboptimal detection can outperform conventional two-dimensional constellations with ML detection.

Virtual measurement models (VMM) can be used to generate artificial measurements and emulate complex sensor models such as Lidar. The input of the VMM is an estimation and the output is the set of measurements this estimation would cause. A Kalman filter with extension estimation based on random matrices is used to filter mean and covariance of the real measurements. If these match the mean and covariance of the artificial measurements, then the given estimation is appropriate. The optimal input of the VMM is found using an adaptation algorithm. In this paper, the VMM approach is expanded for multi-extended object tracking where objects can be occluded and are only partially visible. The occlusion can be compensated if the extension estimation is performed for all objects together. The VMM now receives as input an estimation for the multi-object state and the output are the measurements that this multi-object state would cause.

With the high resolution of modern sensors such as multilayer LiDARs, estimating the 3D shape in an extended object tracking procedure is possible. In recent years, 3D shapes have been estimated in spherical coordinates using Gaussian processes, spherical double Fourier series or spherical harmonics. However, observations have shown that in many scenarios only a few measurements are obtained from top or bottom surfaces, leading to error-prone estimates in spherical coordinates. Therefore, in this paper we propose to estimate the shape in cylindrical coordinates instead, applying harmonic functions. Specifically, we derive an expansion for 3D shapes in cylindrical coordinates by solving a boundary value problem for the Laplace equation. This shape representation is then integrated in a plain greedy association model and compared to shape estimation procedures in spherical coordinates. Since the shape representation is only integrated in a basic estimator, the results are preliminary and a detailed discussion for future work is presented at the end of the paper.

Feature-Based Proposal Density Optimization for Nonlinear Model Predictive Path Integral Control
(2022)

This paper presents a novel feature-based sampling strategy for nonlinear Model Predictive Path Integral (MPPI) control. In MPPI control, the optimal control is calculated by solving a stochastic optimal control problem online using the weighted inference of stochastic trajectories. While the algorithm can be excellently parallelized the closed- loop performance is dependent on the information quality of the drawn samples. Because these samples are drawn using a proposal density, its quality is crucial for the solver and thus the controller performance. In classical MPPI control, the explored state-space is strongly constrained by assumptions that refer to the control value variance, which are necessary for transforming the Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman (HJB) equation into a linear second-order partial differential equation. To achieve excellent performance even with discontinuous cost-functions, in this novel approach, knowledge-based features are used to determine the proposal density and thus, the region of state- space for exploration. This paper addresses the question of how the performance of the MPPI algorithm can be improved using a feature-based mixture of base densities. Further, the developed algorithm is applied on an autonomous vessel that follows a track and concurrently avoids collisions using an emergency braking feature.

This paper presents a systematic comparison of different advanced approaches for motion prediction of vessels for docking scenarios. Therefore, a conventional nonlinear gray-box-model, its extension to a hybrid model using an additional regression neural network (RNN) and a black-box-model only based on a RNN are compared. The optimal hyperparameters are found by grid search. The training and validation data for the different models is collected in full-scale experiments using the solar research vessel Solgenia. The performances of the different prediction models are compared in full-scale scenarios. %To use the investigated approaches for controller design, a general optimal control problem containing the advanced models is described. These can improve advanced control strategies e.g., nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC) or reinforcement learning (RL). This paper explores the question of what the advantages and disadvantages of the different presented prediction approaches are and how they can be used to improve the docking behavior of a vessel.

The growing error rates of triple-level cell (TLC) and quadruple-level cell (QLC) NAND flash memories have led to the application of error correction coding with soft-input decoding techniques in flash-based storage systems. Typically, flash memory is organized in pages where the individual bits per cell are assigned to different pages and different codewords of the error-correcting code. This page-wise encoding minimizes the read latency with hard-input decoding. To increase the decoding capability, soft-input decoding is used eventually due to the aging of the cells. This soft-decoding requires multiple read operations. Hence, the soft-read operations reduce the achievable throughput, and increase the read latency and power consumption. In this work, we investigate a different encoding and decoding approach that improves the error correction performance without increasing the number of reference voltages. We consider TLC and QLC flashes where all bits are jointly encoded using a Gray labeling. This cell-wise encoding improves the achievable channel capacity compared with independent page-wise encoding. Errors with cell-wise read operations typically result in a single erroneous bit per cell. We present a coding approach based on generalized concatenated codes that utilizes this property.

In this paper, a novel feature-based sampling strategy for nonlinear Model Predictive Path Integral (MPPI) control is presented. Using the MPPI approach, the optimal feedback control is calculated by solving a stochastic optimal control (OCP) problem online by evaluating the weighted inference of sampled stochastic trajectories. While the MPPI algorithm can be excellently parallelized, the closed-loop performance strongly depends on the information quality of the sampled trajectories. To draw samples, a proposal density is used. The solver’s and thus, the controller’s performance is of high quality if the sampled trajectories drawn from this proposal density are located in low-cost regions of state-space. In classical MPPI control, the explored state-space is strongly constrained by assumptions that refer to the control value’s covariance matrix, which are necessary for transforming the stochastic Hamilton–Jacobi–Bellman (HJB) equation into a linear second-order partial differential equation. To achieve excellent performance even with discontinuous cost functions, in this novel approach, knowledge-based features are introduced to constitute the proposal density and thus the low-cost region of state-space for exploration. This paper addresses the question of how the performance of the MPPI algorithm can be improved using a feature-based mixture of base densities. Furthermore, the developed algorithm is applied to an autonomous vessel that follows a track and concurrently avoids collisions using an emergency braking feature. Therefore, the presented feature-based MPPI algorithm is applied and analyzed in both simulation and full-scale experiments.

Docking Control of a Fully-Actuated Autonomous Vessel using Model Predictive Path Integral Control
(2022)

This paper presents the docking control of an autonomous vessel using the nonlinear Model Predictive Path Integral (MPPI) approach. This algorithm is based on a path integral over stochastic trajectories and can be parallelized easily. The controller parameters are tuned offline using knowledge of the system and simulations, including nonlinear state and disturbance observer. The cost function implicitly contains information regarding the surrounding of the docking position. This approach allows continuous optimization of the trajectory with respect to the system state, disturbance state and actuator dynamics. The control strategy has been tested in full-scale experiments using the solar research vessel Solgenia. The investigated MPPI controller has demonstrated excellent performance in both, simulation and real-world experiments. This paper addresses the question of how the MPPI algorithm can be applied to dock a fully-actuated vessel and what benefits its application achieves.

This paper presents the swinging up and stabilization control of a Furuta pendulum using the recently published nonlinear Model Predictive Path Integral (MPPI) approach. This algorithm is based on a path integral over stochastic trajectories and can be parallelized easily. The controller parameters are tuned offline regarding the nonlinear system dynamics and simulations. Constraints in terms of state and input are taken into account in the cost function. The presented approach sequentially computes an optimal control sequence that minimizes this optimal control problem online. The control strategy has been tested in full-scale experiments using a pendulum prototype. The investigated MPPI controller has demonstrated excellent performance in simulation for the swinging up and stabilizing task. In order to also achieve outstanding performance in a real-world experiment using a controller with limited computing power, a linear quadratic controller (LQR) is designed for the stabilization task. In this paper, the determination of the controller parameters for the MPPI algorithm is described in detail. Further, a discussion treats the advantages of the nonlinear MPPI control.