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Development of constrained control allocation for ship berthing by using autonomous tugboats


In this paper, we propose a new approach to ship berthing by using autonomous tugboats. This approach overcomes the nominal effectiveness problem of actuators at slow speed maneuvering to improve the ship operation in the harbor area. The proposed SMC gave us a sliding mode control law that guarantees position tracking with desired velocity in the presence of environmental disturbances. The thrust allocation problem is solved by using a redistributed pseudo-inverse (RPI) algorithm to determine the thrust and direction of each individual tugboat. The main goal of RPI method is to minimize the power supplied to tugboats and increase their controllability. The proposed approach has been simulated on a model of a supply vessel with excellent results.

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Correspondence to Young Bok Kim.

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Recommended by Editorial Board member Hamid Reza Karimi under the direction of Editor Jae Weon Choi.

This research was a part of the project titled “The Development of Mooring Position Control System for Offshore Accommodation Barge” funded by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, Korea.

Van Phuoc Bui obtained his B.S. in Mechatronic Engineering in 2005 at Ho-ChiMinh University of Technology (HCMUT) and his M.S. in the Graduate School of Mechanical and Control System Engineering in 2009 at Pukyong National University (PKNU), Busan, Korea. He is currently a doctoral student at PKNU. His research interests include control theory with applications to marine control system.

Young-Bok Kim received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Maritime Engineering from National Fisheries University of Pusan, Korea in 1989 and 1991, respectively. He received his Ph.D. degree from Kobe University, Japan in 1996. Dr. Kim is currently a Professor at the Department of Mechanical System Engineering at Pukyong National University in Busan, Korea. His research interests include control theory and application with Dynamic Ship Positioning and crane control system design.

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Van Bui, P., Kim, Y.B. Development of constrained control allocation for ship berthing by using autonomous tugboats. Int. J. Control Autom. Syst. 9, 1203–1208 (2011).

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  • Control allocation
  • redistributed pseudo-inverse algorithm
  • ship berthing
  • sliding mode control
  • slow speed maneuvering