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Reference: Fisher, A.D., J.H VanZwieten, and T.S. VanZwieten, 2009: Adaptive control of small outboard-powered boats for survey applications. Proceedings, IEEE Oceans 2009, Biloxi, ISBN 978-1-4244-4960-6.
Abstract: Four autopilot controllers have been developed in this work that can both hold a desired heading and follow a straight line. These PID, adaptive PID, neuro-adaptive, and adaptive augmenting control algorithms have all been implemented into a numerical simulation of a 33-foot center console vessel with wind, waves, and current disturbances acting in the perpendicular (across-track) direction of the boat’s desired trajectory. Each controller is tested for its ability to follow a desired heading in the presence of these disturbances and then to follow a straight line at two different throttle settings for the same disturbances. These controllers were tuned for an input thrust of 2000 N and all four controllers showed good performance with none of the controllers significantly outperforming the others when holding a constant heading and following a straight line at this engine thrust. Each controller was then tested for a reduced engine thrust of 1200 N per engine where each of the three adaptive controllers reduced heading error and across-track error by approximately 50% after a 300 second tuning period when compared to the fixed gain PID, showing that significant robustness to changes in throttle setting was gained by using an adaptive algorithm.