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Coordinated Motion Control of Multiple Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
Reza Ghabcheloo; Antonio Pascoal; Carlos Silvestre; Danilo Carvalho
Conference Namethe International Workshop on Underwater Robotics for Sustainable Management of Marine Ecosystems and Environmental Monitoring
Source PublicationProc. of the International Workshop on Underwater Robotics for Sustainable Management of Marine Ecosystems and Environmental Monitoring
Conference DateNovember 2005
Conference PlaceGenova, Italy

Spawned by recent advances in technology, widespread attention has been focused on the coordination of multiple autonomous vehicles. In numerous mission scenarios, the concept of a group of agents cooperating to achieve a determined goal is very attractive when compared with the solution of one single, heavily equipped vehicle, as it exhibits better performance in terms of efficiency, flexibility and robustness, and can more effectively react and adapt itself to the environment in which it operates. Applications of coordinated control of multiple vehicles include microsatellite clusters, formation flying of unmanned aerial vehicles and automated highway systems. In the field of ocean exploration there has been a surge of interest worldwide in the development of autonomous robots equipped with systems to steer them accurately and reliably in the harsh marine environment and allow them to collect data at the surface and underwater. The cooperation of multiple autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) yields several advantages and leads to safer, faster, and far more efficient ways of exploring the ocean frontier, especially in hazardous conditions. The dynamics of underwater vehicles however are characterized by hydrodynamic effects that must necessarily be taken into account during the control design. Moreover, it is common for underwater vehicles to be underactuated, that is, to have fewer actuators than degrees-of-freedom. Motion control for this class of vehicles is especially challenging because most of these systems exhibit nonholonomic constraints. As there are strong practical limitations to the flow of information among vehicles, which is severely restricted by the nature of the supporting communications network, one of the aims of formation control must be to reduce the frequency at which information is exchanged among the systems involved. This is especially true in the case of AUVs, since underwater communications and positioning rely heavily on acoustic systems, which are plagued with intermittent failures, latency, and multipath effects. It is in this framework that this thesis proposes a decentralized control structure, based on Lyapunov techniques and graph theory, that explicitly takes into account both the complex nonlinear dynamics of the cooperating vehicles and the constraints imposed by the topology of the inter-vehicle communications network. For a single vehicle, the solution ii iii to the motion control problem is based on an inner loop controller, that regulates the actuators so that a given speed reference is followed, and an outer loop kinematic controller that adjusts the speed reference to make the vehicle track a “virtual target” moving along the desired path. Coordination between multiple vehicles is then achieved by parametrizing the path of each vehicle and regulating the speed of the virtual target so to synchronize the parametrization states. The discontinuous nature of inter-vehicle communication is taken into account by introducing a logic-based communication system that minimizes the need for data exchange. Stability and convergence of the resulting system, and the conditions under which they hold, are assessed through a rigorous mathematical approach. The performance of the devised control strategies is finally evaluated with computer simulations.

KeywordAutonomous Underwater Vehicles Coordinated Path-following Coordination Control Graph Theory Nonlinear Control Underactuated Systems
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Document TypeConference paper
CollectionFaculty of Science and Technology
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Reza Ghabcheloo,Antonio Pascoal,Carlos Silvestre,et al. Coordinated Motion Control of Multiple Autonomous Underwater Vehicles[C],2005.
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