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Alternative trajectory-tracking control approach for marine surface vessels with experimental verification

  • Farbod Fahimi (a1) and Chris Van Kleeck (a2)


Experiments with a nonlinear trajectory-tracking controller for marine unmanned surface vessels are reported. The tracking controller is designed using a nonlinear robust model-based sliding mode approach. The marine vehicles can track arbitrary desired trajectories that are defined in Cartesian coordinate as continuous functions of time. The planar dynamic model used for the controller design consists of 3 degrees of freedom (DOFs) of surge, sway, and yaw. The vessel only has two actuators, so the vessel is underactuated. Therefore, only two outputs, which are functions of the 3-DOF, can be controlled. The Cartesian position of a control point on the vessel is defined as the output. The orientation dynamics is not directly controlled. It has been previously shown that the orientation dynamics, as the internal dynamics of this underactuated system, is stable. The result of field experiments show the effectiveness of tracking control laws in the presence of parameter uncertainty and disturbance. The experiments were performed in a large outdoor pond using a small test boat. This paper reports the first theoretical development and experimental verification of the proposed model-based nonlinear trajectory-tracking controller.


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Alternative trajectory-tracking control approach for marine surface vessels with experimental verification

  • Farbod Fahimi (a1) and Chris Van Kleeck (a2)


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