A collision avoidance method for multi-ship encounter situations

  • Man-Chun Lee
  • Chung-Yuan Nieh
  • Hsin-Chuan Kuo
  • Juan-Chen HuangEmail author
Original article


This study proposes a multi-ship collision avoidance and route generating algorithm based on the general requirements of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) and the artificial potential field (APF) method. The velocity potential field is used as the field function of APF method. The algorithm consists of two modes, the course-changing and the track-keeping modes based on the velocity potential of vortex and dipole, respectively. The course-changing mode guides the ship to turn away from the obstacles according to the vector field of vortex potential. The track-keeping mode steers the ship back to and along on a pre-designed track in accordance with the vector field of dipole potential. The data of distance to the closest point of approach (DCPA), time to the closest point of approach (TCPA) and bearing angle evaluated from a maneuvering simulation are the acquired parameters of the proposed collision avoidance algorithm. The algorithm is straightforward and very simple to implement, and is suitable for the real time and distributed intelligent collision avoidance system. Simulation results indicate that the anti-collision formulation can avoid collision safely with the desired distance and indicate that the algorithm proposed can work effectively.


Automatic collision avoidance Route generating Course-keeping Track-keeping Velocity potential field Intelligent navigation COLREGs 



The research is supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (Grant No: MOST 103-2410-H-019-008-MY2).


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Copyright information

© The Japan Society of Naval Architects and Ocean Engineers (JASNAOE) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Merchant MarineNational Taiwan Ocean UniversityKeelungTaiwan
  2. 2.Maritime Development and Training CenterNational Taiwan Ocean UniversityKeelungTaiwan
  3. 3.Department of Systems Engineering and Naval ArchitectureNational Taiwan Ocean UniversityKeelungTaiwan

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