A granular approach to the automation of bioregenerative life support systems that enhances situation awareness
Drayer, Gregorio E.
Howard, Ayanna M.
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Bioregenerative life support systems introduce novel challenges for the development of model-based approaches to their control given the varying characteristic of the biological processes that constitute them. Switching control paradigms provide an alternative to manage such uncertainty by allowing flexibility into the control path, enabling different control modes depending on the situation of the system. This paper presents a perception-based approach that combines sensor information to define those conditions and act upon them. Combined sensor information creates sensing spaces in which the operational conditions of the system are found. The decomposition of the sensing spaces into perceptual elements or granules allows for situation assessment, system integration strategies, and the implementation of fail-safe and fail-operational mechanisms-all these critical in a wider range of complex socio-technical systems. This paper proposes the use of intelligent agents based on fuzzy associative memories (FAM) to decompose sensing spaces into granular structures composed of n-dimensional non-interactive fuzzy sets. Granular structures resulting from such decomposition allow for the incremental development and automation of the system by associating a control task to each operational condition. Furthermore, the real-time information obtained from the membership value of the granules may provide a resource for situational awareness and for the design of new ecological interfaces to enhance human-system interaction and real-time decision making. The approach presented in this paper is applied to the dynamic model of a reconfigurable aquatic habitat that serves as a small-scale bioregenerative test bed for life support control research. Results show how information generated by the FAM enhances the situation observability of the system.