Discrete Control Barrier Functions for Safety-Critical Control of Discrete Systems with Application to Bipedal Robot Navigation

Authors: Ayush Agrawal, Koushil Sreenath

In this paper, we extend the concept of control barrier functions, developed initially for continuous time systems, to the discrete-time domain. We demonstrate safety-critical control for nonlinear discrete-time systems with applications to 3D bipedal robot navigation. Particularly, we mathematically analyze two different formulations of control barrier functions, based on their continuous-time counterparts, and demonstrate how these can be applied to discrete-time systems. We show that the resulting formulation is a nonlinear program in contrast to the quadratic program for continuous-time systems and under certain conditions, the nonlinear program can be formulated as a quadratically constrained quadratic program. Furthermore, using the developed concept of discrete control barrier functions, we present a novel control method to address the problem of navigation of a high-dimensional bipedal robot through environments with moving obstacles that present time-varying safety-critical constraints.

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