An Autopilot Based on a Local Control Network Design for an Unmanned Surface Vehicle

S. K. Sharma, W. Naeem, R. Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Over recent years, a number of marine autopilots designed using linear techniques have underperformed owing to their inability to cope with nonlinear vessel dynamics. To this end, a new design framework for the development of nonlinear autopilots is proposed herein. Local control networks (LCNs) can be used in the design of nonlinear control systems. In this paper, a LCN approach is taken in the design of a nonlinear autopilot for controlling the nonlinear yaw dynamics of an unmanned surface vehicle known as Springer. It is considered the approach is the first of its kind to be used in marine control systems design. Simulation results are presented and the performance of the nonlinear autopilot is compared with that of an existing Springer linear quadratic Gaussian (LQG) autopilot using standard system performance criteria. From the results it can be concluded the LCN autopilot out performed that based on LQG techniques in terms of the selected criteria. Also it provided more energy saving control strategies and would thereby increase operational duration times for the vehicle during real-time missions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-301
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Navigation
Issue number2
Early online date12 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ocean Engineering


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