Control of an underactuated remotely operated underwater vehicle

M. W.S. Lau, S. S.M. Swei, G. Seet, E. Low, P. L. Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In this paper, a steady state model of a thruster and a general equation of rigid-body motion for an underwater robotic vehicle (URV) is presented. By means of modelling, simulation and experiments, the model parameters have been identified. These are used in the analysis and design of closed-loop stabilizing controllers for two control modes: manual cruise and station keeping. Since the URV under study has fewer actuators than possible degrees of freedom, it is necessary to limit the controllable degrees of freedom. These variables are eventually selected based on the inherent vehicle dynamics. Using the Lyapunov direct method, which has been shown to be appropriate for such non-linear systems, appropriate stabilizing controllers have been designed. The manual cruise mode controller is non-linear and would result in chattering in the thruster outputs, but simulations show that the desired results can be achieved. The station-keeping mode controller has a proportional-integral-derivative (PID) structure and its gain values are designed using a non-linear optimizing approach. Simulation and swimming pool tests for the heave and yaw directions have shown that such a controller is possible.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)343-358
Number of pages16
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part I: Journal of Systems and Control Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003


  • Closed-loop stabilizing controllers
  • Remote control
  • Thruster
  • Underwater robotic vehicle (URV)


Dive into the research topics of 'Control of an underactuated remotely operated underwater vehicle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this