Derivative-Based Koopman Operators for Real-Time Control of Robotic Systems

Giorgos Mamakoukas*, Maria L. Castano, Xiaobo Tan, Todd D. Murphey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


This article presents a generalizable methodology for data-driven identification of nonlinear dynamics that bounds the model error in terms of the prediction horizon and the magnitude of the derivatives of the system states. Using higher order derivatives of general nonlinear dynamics that need not be known, we construct a Koopman-operator-based linear representation and utilize Taylor series accuracy analysis to derive an error bound. The resulting error formula is used to choose the order of derivatives in the basis functions and obtain a data-driven Koopman model using a closed-form expression that can be computed in real time. Using the inverted pendulum system, we illustrate the robustness of the error bounds given noisy measurements of unknown dynamics, where the derivatives are estimated numerically. When combined with control, the Koopman representation of the nonlinear system has marginally better performance than competing nonlinear modeling methods, such as SINDy and NARX. In addition, as a linear model, the Koopman approach lends itself readily to efficient control design tools, such as linear-quadratic regulator, whereas the other modeling approaches require nonlinear control methods. The efficacy of the approach is further demonstrated with simulation and experimental results on the control of a tail-actuated robotic fish. Experimental results show that the proposed data-driven control approach outperforms a tuned proportional-integral-derivative controller and that updating the data-driven model online significantly improves performance in the presence of unmodeled fluid disturbance. This article is complemented with a video available at

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2173-2192
Number of pages20
JournalIEEE Transactions on Robotics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Data-driven control
  • Koopman operator
  • model learning
  • robotic fish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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