Robust Cooperative Control of Networked Train Platoons: a Negative-Imaginary Systems’ Perspective

Chunyu Li, Jianan Wang, Jiayuan Shan, Alexander Lanzon, Ian R. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


By virtue of the wide implementation of communication-based train control (CBTC) systems and moving-block signalling (MBS) systems, cooperative control for trains shows great potential in improving line utilization, passenger comfort and operation flexibility. However, the operation of train platoons faces great challenges induced by model uncertainties, unpredictable resistances and time-varying disturbances. To address these problems, consensus-based robust cooperative control schemes are presented in this paper for both homogeneous and heterogeneous train platoons. Taking the physical connection between carriages into consideration, each train in the platoons is modeled as a negative imaginary (NI) system, and the NI property is rigorously proved in this paper. In the foundation of cooperative control theories of NI systems, robust strictly negative imaginary (SNI) controllers considering the network topology are utilized to track a predefined motion reference. The proposed controllers are robust to both mass uncertainties and external disturbances. Moreover, the line utilization for the railway system and the ride comfort for the passengers are improved using the proposed control schemes. Numerical simulations are given to showcase the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed controllers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Control of Network Systems
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 27 May 2021


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