A Multi-Sensory Switching-stable Architecture for Distributed Fault Tolerant Propulsion Control of Marine Vessels

N. Kougiatsos*, R.R. Negenborn, V. Reppa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

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Nowadays, marine vessels constitute safety-critical assets facilitating the transport of millions of passengers and tons of cargo worldwide. As such, they require a large number of heterogeneous sensors dispersed in the various on-board machinery for operational and condition monitoring of their vital systems, such as the propulsion system. Despite the vast availability of data from on-board sensors, there is hardly any collaboration between the spatially distributed sensor devices to boost vessel performance. Up to this day, physical redundancy has been mostly discussed in maritime literature. The use of virtual sensors (software-based) has not been properly investigated yet for maritime applications, despite their successful application in other fields like aircraft control and process control. This paper proposes a novel switching mechanism to alternate between physical and virtual sensors used in the primary propulsion control layer of marine vessels aiming to compensate for the effects of sensor faults. The switching mechanism focuses on ensuring the safe performance of the propulsion grid after the sensor faults occur. The software sensors are constructed using mathematical models describing the nonlinear dynamics of the propulsion system and the input and sensor output data. Simulation results are used to illustrate the switching mechanism’s performance in the case of a hybrid propulsion system, where the different subsystems are controlled in a distributed configuration.
Original languageEnglish
Article number27
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the International Ship Control Systems Symposium
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event16th International Naval Engineering Conference and Exhibition incorporating the International Ship Control Systems Symposium, INEC/iSCSS 2022 - Aula Congress Centre, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 8 Nov 202210 Nov 2022
Conference number: 16


This publication is part of the project READINESS with project number TWM.BL.019.002 of the research programme ”Topsector Water & Maritime: the Blue route” which is partly financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).


  • Hybrid propulsion
  • Sensor faults
  • Software-based sensors
  • Fault-tolerant control systems
  • Marine systems


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