Model-Based Feedback Control of Autonomous Underwater Gliders

Naomi Ehrich Leonard and Joshua G. Graver

IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, Special Issue on Autonomous Ocean-Sampling Networks, Vol. 26, No. 4, October 2001, 633-645.
We describe the development of feedback control for autonomous underwater gliders. Feedback is introduced to make the glider motion robust to disturbances and uncertainty. Our focus is on buoyancy-propelled, fixed-wing gliders with attitude controlled by means of active internal mass redistribution. We derive a nonlinear dynamic model of a nominal glider complete with hydrodynamic forces and coupling between the vehicle and the movable internal mass. We use this model to study stability and controllability of glide paths and to derive feedback control laws. For our analysis we restrict to motion in the vertical plane and consider linear control laws. For illustration, we apply our methodology to a model of our own laboratory-scale underwater glider.

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