Neural network-based model-free adaptive near-optimal tracking control for a class of nonlinear systems

Yinyan Zhang, Shuai Li, Xiaoping Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the receding horizon near-optimal tracking control problem about a class of continuous-time nonlinear systems with fully unknown dynamics is considered. The main challenges of this problem lie in two aspects: 1) most existing systems only restrict their considerations to the state feedback part while the input channel parameters are assumed to be known. This paper considers fully unknown system dynamics in both the state feedback channel and the input channel and 2) the optimal control of nonlinear systems requires the solution of nonlinear Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equations. Up to date, there are no systematic approaches in the existing literature to solve it accurately. A novel model-free adaptive near-optimal control method is proposed to solve this problem via utilizing the Taylor expansion-based problem relaxation, the universal approximation property of sigmoid neural networks, and the concept of sliding mode control. By making approximation for the performance index, it is first relaxed to a quadratic program, and then, a linear algebraic equation with unknown terms. An auxiliary system is designed to reconstruct the input-to-output property of the control systems with unknown dynamics, so as to tackle the difficulty caused by the unknown terms. Then, by considering the property of the sliding-mode surface, an explicit adaptive near-optimal control law is derived from the linear algebraic equation. Theoretical analysis shows that the auxiliary system is convergent, the resultant closed-loop system is asymptotically stable, and the performance index asymptomatically converges to optimal. An illustrative example and experimental results are presented, which substantiate the efficacy of the proposed method and verify the theoretical results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8356709
Pages (from-to)6227-6241
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Model-free adaptive control
  • neural network
  • optimal control
  • sliding mode control
  • universal approximation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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