Autonomous Minimum Safe Distance Maintenance from Submersed Obstacles in Ocean Currents
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A considerable volume of research has recently blossomed in the literature on autonomous underwater vehicles accepting recent developments in mathematical modeling and system identification; pitch control; information filtering and active sensing, including inductive sensors of ELF emissions and also optical sensor arrays for position, velocity, and orientation detection; grid navigation algorithms; and dynamic obstacle avoidance, amongst others. In light of these modern developments, this article develops and compares integrative guidance, navigation, and control methodologies for the Naval Postgraduate School’s Phoenix submerged autonomous vehicle, where these methods are assumed available. The measure of merit reveals how well each of several proposed methodologies cope with known and unknown disturbances, such as currents that can be constant or harmonic, while maintaining a safe passage distance from underwater obstacles, in this case submerged mines. Classical pole-placement designs establish nominal baseline behaviors and are subsequently compared to performance of designs that are optimized to satisfy linear quadratic cost functions in regulators as well as linear-quadratic Gaussian designs. Feed-forward architectures and integral control designs are also evaluated. A noteworthy contribution is a very simple method to mimic optimal results with a “rule of thumb” criteria based on the design’s time constant. Since the rule-of-thumb method uses the assumed system model for computation of the control, it is particularly generic. Cited references each contain methods for online system parameter identification (with a motivation of use in the finding the control signal), permitting the rule of thumb’s generic applicability, since it is expressed in terms of the system parameters. This proposed method permits control design at sea where significant computation abilities are not available. Very simple waypoint guidance is also introduced to guide a vehicle along a preplanned path through a field of obstacles placed at random locations. The linear-quadratic Gaussian design proves best when augmented with integral control, and works well with reduced-order equations, while the “rule of thumb” design is seen to closely mimic the optimal performance. Feed-forward augmentation proves particularly efficient at rejecting constant disturbances, while augmentation with integral control is necessary to counter periodic disturbances, where the augmentations are also optimized in the linear-quadratic Gaussian procedures, yet can be closely mimicked by the proposed “rule of thumb” technique.
The article of record as published may be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jmse6030098
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