Constraints in Identification of Multi-Loop Feedforward Human Control Models

Frank M. Drop, Daan M. Pool, Max Mulder, Heinrich H. Bülthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The human controller (HC) can greatly improve target-tracking performance by utilizing a feedforward operation on the target signal, in addition to a feedback response. System identification methods are used to determine the correct HC model structure: purely feedback or a combined feedforward/feedback model. In this paper, we investigate three central issues that complicate this objective. First, the identification method should not require prior assumptions regarding the dynamics of the feedforward and feedback components. Second, severe biases might be introduced by high levels of noise in the data measured under closed-loop conditions. To address the first two issues, we will consider two identification methods that make use of linear ARX models: the classic direct method and the two-stage indirect method of van den Hof and Schrama (1993). Third, model complexity should be considered in the selection of the ‘best’ ARX model to prevent ‘false-positive’ feedforward identification. Various model selection criteria, that make an explicit trade-off between model quality and model complexity, are considered. Based on computer simulations with a HC model, we conclude that 1) the direct method provides more accurate estimates in the frequency range of interest, and 2) existing model selection criteria do not prevent false-positive feedforward identification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016


  • Cybernetics
  • feedforward control
  • manual control
  • parameter estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering


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