Collision Avoidance Systems for Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships Considering Uncertainty in Ship Dynamics

Yamin Huang, Linying Chen, Rudy R. Negenborn, P. H.A.J.M. Van Gelder

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


Many Collision Avoidance Systems (CAS) for autonomous ships usually presume that a ship's dynamics are completely known in advance. However, precise parameters for ships in different operating conditions are, in fact, uncertain and unknown. The parameter identification of ship dynamics is challenging and time-consuming. Thus, uncertainties in the ship dynamic model are inevitable, which can lead to errors between real trajectories and predicted trajectories. These errors might result in an unexpected collision between ships. Therefore, it is necessary to consider tracking errors in the CAS, which is missing in most existing CAS. This article proposes a way to incorporate the errors in CAS. Specifically, a Velocity Obstacle (VO) algorithm is employed to find collision-free velocities with estimated tracking errors. Firstly, the ship is assumed to be a "black box" whose inputs and outputs are observable, while the internal workings are unknown. Secondly, parameters optimization of a PID controller are employed to determine the best feedback gains for tracking given trajectories; Thirdly, the maximal tracking errors for controlling the ship to arbitrary velocities are estimated. Finally, the maximal error is added to the safety distance and the VO algorithm is employed to find a collision-free solution. The proposed Unknown-Dynamics CAS (UD-CAS) can support the upgrade of existing conventional ships to Type I-III maritime autonomous surface ship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14614-14619
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event21st IFAC World Congress 2020 - Berlin, Germany
Duration: 12 Jul 202017 Jul 2020


  • obstacle avoidance
  • ship control
  • unknown dynamics
  • velocity obstacle algorithm


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