Distributed Leader-Follower Formation Control for Autonomous Vessels based on Model Predictive Control

M.J. van Pampus, A. Haseltalab, V. Garofano, V. Reppa, Y.H. Deinema, R.R. Negenborn

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Formation control of autonomous surface vessels (ASVs) has been studied extensively over the last few years since it offers promising advantages. In this paper, two control methods for distributed leader-follower formation control are proposed: A Nonlinear Model Predictive Control (MPC) method and an MPC method using Feedback Linearization. One agent per vessel performs planning and control. The agents exchange information on their current and predicted positions. The two proposed methods are compared with each other and also with a conventional Proportional-Integral (PI) control method. The performance of the proposed strategies is evaluated through simulations and field experiments using small scale vessels. The simulation and field experiment results show that the proposed MPC-based approaches outperform the conventional PI control method.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the European Control Conference (ECC 2021)
ISBN (Electronic)978-9-4638-4236-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-7945-5
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event2021 European Control Conference (ECC) - Virtual , Netherlands
Duration: 29 Jun 20212 Jul 2021


Conference2021 European Control Conference (ECC)

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Autonomous surface vessels
  • model predictive control
  • feedback linearization
  • formation control


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