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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.

93A14Decentralized systems
93C40Adaptive control systems
93C15Control systems governed by ODE
93C10Nonlinear control systems
94C15Applications of graph theory to circuits and networks
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