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Planar Tracking Control of an Underactuated Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Authors: Santhakumar M., Asokan T.


This paper addresses the problem of trajectory tracking control of an underactuated autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) in the horizontal plane. The underwater vehicle under consideration is not actuated in the sway direction, and the system matrices are not assumed to be diagonal and linear, as often found in the literature. In addition, the effect of constant bias of environmental disturbances is considered. Using backstepping techniques and the tracking error dynamics, the system states are stabilized by forcing the tracking errors to an arbitrarily small neighborhood of zero. The effectiveness of the proposed control method is demonstrated through numerical simulations. Simulations are carried out for an experimental vehicle for smooth, inertial, two dimensional (2D) reference trajectories such as constant velocity trajectory (a circle maneuver – constant yaw rate), and time varying velocity trajectory (a sinusoidal path – sinusoidal yaw rate).

Keywords: autonomous underwater vehicle, system matrices, tracking control, time – varying feed back, underactuated control.

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