Autonomous Inverted Helicopter Flight via Reinforcement Learning
Helicopters have highly stochastic, nonlinear, dynamics, and autonomous helicopter flight is widely regarded to be a challenging control problem. As helicopters are highly unstable at low speeds, it is particularly difficult to design controllers for low speed aerobatic maneuvers. In this paper, we describe a successful application of reinforcement learning to designing a controller for sustained inverted flight on an autonomous helicopter. Using data collected from the helicopter in flight, we began by learning a stochastic, nonlinear model of the helicopter’s dynamics. Then, a reinforcement learning algorithm was applied to automatically learn a controller for autonomous inverted hovering. Finally, the resulting controller was successfully tested on our autonomous helicopter platform.
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