Adaptive control for autonomous ships with uncertain model and unknown propeller dynamics

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Motion control is one of the most critical aspects in the design of autonomous ships. During maneuvering, the dynamics of propellers as well as the craft hydrodynamical specifications experience severe uncertainties. In this paper, an adaptive control approach is proposed to control the motion and trajectory tracking of an autonomous vessel by adopting neural networks that is used for estimating the dynamics of the propellers and handling hydrodynamical uncertainties. Considering that the maneuvering model of a vessel resemble a nonlinear non-affine-in-control system, the proposed neural-based adaptive control algorithm is designed to estimate the nonlinear influence of the input function which in this case is the dynamics of propellers and thrusters. It is also shown that the proposed methodology is capable of handling state dependent uncertainties within the ship maneuvering model. A Lyapunov-based technique and Uniform Ultimate Boundedness are used to prove the correctness of the algorithm. To assess the method's performance, several experiments are considered including trajectory tracking simulations in the port of Rotterdam.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104116
Number of pages12
JournalControl Engineering Practice
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Adaptive control
  • Autonomous vessels
  • Neural networks
  • Propeller dynamics


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