Federated Learning on the Road Autonomous Controller Design for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

The deployment of future intelligent transportation systems is contingent upon seamless and reliable operation of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). One key challenge in developing CAVs is the design of an autonomous controller that can accurately execute near real-time control decisions such as a quick acceleration when merging to a highway and frequent speed changes in a stop-and-go traffic. However the use of conventional feedback controllers or traditional learning-based controllers solely trained by each CAV’s local data cannot guarantee a robust controller performance over a wide range of road conditions and traffic dynamics. In this paper a new federated learning (FL) framework enabled by large-scale wireless connectivity is proposed for designing the autonomous controller of CAVs. In this framework the learning models used by the controllers are collaboratively trained among a group of CAVs. To capture the varying CAV participation in the FL training process and the diverse local data quality among CAVs a novel dynamic federated proximal (DFP) algorithm is proposed that accounts for the mobility of CAVs the wireless fading channels as well as the unbalanced and non-independent and identically distributed data across CAVs. A rigorous convergence analysis is performed for the proposed algorithm to identify how fast the CAVs converge to using the optimal autonomous controller. In particular the impacts of varying CAV participation in the FL process and diverse CAV data quality on the convergence of the proposed DFP algorithm are explicitly analyzed. Leveraging this analysis an incentive mechanism based on contract theory is designed to improve the FL convergence speed. Simulation results using real vehicular data traces show that the proposed DFP-based controller can accurately track the target CAV speed over time and under different traffic scenarios. Moreover the results show that the proposed DFP algorithm has a much faster convergence compared to popular FL algorithms such as federated averaging (FedAvg) and federated proximal (FedProx). The results also validate the feasibility of the contract-theoretic incentive mechanism and show that the proposed mechanism can improve the convergence speed of the DFP algorithm by 40% compared to the baselines.