Journal article

On the Design of Integral Observers for Unbiased Output Estimation in the Presence of Uncertainty

Integral observers are useful tools for estimating the plant states in the presence of non-vanishing disturbances resulting from plant-model mismatch and exogenous disturbances. It is well known that these observers can eliminate bias in all states, given that as many independent measurements are available as there are independent sources of disturbance. In the most general case, the dimensionality of the disturbance vector affecting the plant states corresponds to the order of the system and thus all states need to be measured. This condition, which is termed integral observability in the literature, represents a fairly restrictive situation. This study focuses on the more realistic case, where only the output variables are measured. Accordingly, the objective reduces to the unbiased estimation of the output variables. It is shown that both stability and asymptotically unbiased output estimation can be achieved if the system is observable, regardless of the dimensionality of the disturbance vector. Furthermore, a condition is provided under which, using output measurements, the errors in all states can be pushed to zero. It is also proposed to use off-line output measurements to tune the observer using a calibration-like approach. Integral observers and integral Kalman filters are evaluated via the simulation of a fourth-order linear system perturbed by unknown non-vanishing disturbances.

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