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Title Nonlinear adaptive control of an underwater towed vehicle
Author Francisco Curado, António Aguiar, António Pascoal
Journal Ocean Engineering
Volume 37
Number 13
Pages 1193-1220
Month May
Year 2010
DOI 10.1016/j.oceaneng.2010.05.010
Group Intelligent Robotics and Systems
Group (before 2015)
Indexed by ISI Yes

This paper addresses the problem of simultaneous depth tracking and attitude control of an underwater towed vehicle. The system proposed uses a two-stage towing arrangement that includes a long primary cable, a gravitic depressor, and a secondary cable. The towfish motion induced by wave driven disturbances in both the vertical and horizontal planes is described using an empirical model of the depressor motion and a spring-damper model of the secondary cable. A nonlinear, Lyapunov-based, adaptive output feedback control law is designed and shown to regulate pitch, yaw, and depth tracking errors to zero. The controller is designed to operate in the presence of plant parameter uncertainty: When subjected to bounded external disturbances, the tracking errors converge to a neighbourhood of the origin that can be made arbitrarily small. In the implementation proposed, a nonlinear observer is used to estimate the linear velocities used by the controller thus dispensing with the need for costly sensor suites. The results obtained with computer simulations show that the controlled system exhibits good performance about different operating conditions when subjected to sea-wave driven disturbances and in the presence of sensor noise. The system holds promise for application in oceanographic missions that require depth tracking or bottom-following combined with precise vehicle attitude control.