A Novel Adaptive Controller for Robot Manipulators Based on Active Inference

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

89 Downloads (Pure)


More adaptive controllers for robot manipulators are needed, which can deal with large model uncertainties. This letter presents a novel active inference controller (AIC) as an adaptive control scheme for industrial robots. This scheme is easily scalable to high degrees-of-freedom, and it maintains high performance even in the presence of large unmodeled dynamics. The proposed method is based on active inference, a promising neuroscientific theory of the brain, which describes a biologically plausible algorithm for perception and action. In this work, we formulate active inference from a control perspective, deriving a model-free control law which is less sensitive to unmodeled dynamics. The performance and the adaptive properties of the algorithm are compared to a state-of-the-art model reference adaptive controller (MRAC) in an experimental setup with a real 7-DOF robot arm. The results showed that the AIC outperformed the MRAC in terms of adaptability, providing a more general control law. This confirmed the relevance of active inference for robot control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2973-2980
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Biologically-inspired robots
  • adaptive control of robotic systems
  • industrial robots
  • active inference
  • free-energy principle

Cite this