COMPARISON STUDY OF LOW-LEVEL CONTROLLER TECHNIQUES FOR UNMANNED SURFACE VESSELS
Schnieders, Joseph A.
Bingham, Brian S.
Kragelund, Sean P.
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Classical linear feedback control techniques are often used for low-level control of the speed and heading of an unmanned surface vessel (USV). To improve performance, two additions to generic proportional-integral-derivative are common: model-based feed-forward compensation and integration of a non-linear thrust model within the controller. This thesis contains a performance comparison of these techniques, where performance is quantified through system analysis, numerical simulation and field experiment. To investigate the impact of these different control implementations, three different scenarios are considered: speed-only, heading-only and simultaneous speed and heading control. For this particular application, feed-forward compensation results in significant performance improvement but results in an additional control parameter that would need to be tuned to the system. The inclusion of non-linear thrust dynamics had a negligible impact on performance. Ultimately, this study suggests the performance of simple linear low-level control techniques is only modestly improved by these common model-based modifications and that this improvement may not justify the requisite additional development time.
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