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Cooperative control of multiple surface vessels with discrete-time periodic communications. (English) Zbl 1261.93005
Summary: This paper addresses the problem of cooperative path-following of networked autonomous surface vessels with discrete-time periodic communications. The objective is to steer a group of autonomous vehicles along given spatial paths, while holding a desired inter-vehicle formation pattern. For a given class of marine vessels, we show how Lyapunov-based techniques, graph theory, and results from networked control systems can be brought together to yield a decentralized control structure where the dynamics of the cooperating vessels and the constraints imposed by the topology of the inter-vehicle communication network are explicitly taken into account. Cooperation is achieved by adjusting the speed of each vessel along its path according to information exchanged periodically on the positions of a subset of the other vessels, as determined by the communications topology adopted. The closed-loop system that is obtained by putting together the path-following and cooperation strategies takes an interconnected feedback form where both systems are input-to-state stable with respect to the outputs of each other. Using a small-gain theorem, stability and convergence of the overall system are guaranteed for adequate choices of the controller gains.

MSC:
93A14 Decentralized systems
93C40 Adaptive control/observation systems
93C15 Control/observation systems governed by ordinary differential equations
93C10 Nonlinear systems in control theory
94C15 Applications of graph theory to circuits and networks
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