A robust consensus observer is described in this paper for state estimation in active distributed parameter structures. To this end, a distributed parameter flexible structure is enhanced by piezoelectric layers to acquire position data in a sensor network with certain directed topology. A decentralized observer dynamics is designed to enforce consensus between the estimated states by each sensor agent. The designed consensus estimator is then optimized using an Algebraic Riccati Equation. The robustness problem is addressed using H performance constraints. The consensus state estimator is then numerically investigated to further support the theoretical expectations, where a sensor network of four agents is used over a flexible clamped-clamped beam. The optimal and robust systems are simulated and the results are illustrated and discussed. The robust consensus observer successfully estimates the states of the system in existence of measurement disturbances and in finite time, which makes the robust designed scheme practical for numerous applications.

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