Underwater exploration is becoming more and more important, since a vast range of unknown resources in the deep ocean remain undeveloped. This dissertation thus presents a modeling of the coupled dynamics of an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) system with an Underwater Vehicles (UV) connected by an underwater cable (UC). The complexity of this multi-body dynamics system and ocean environments is very difficult to model. First, for modeling this, dynamics analysis was performed on each subsystem and further total coupled system dynamics were studied. The UV which is towed by a UC is modeled with 6-DOF equations of motion that reflects its hydrodynamic characteristic was studied. The 4th-order Runge–Kutta numerical method was used to analyze the motion of the USV with its hydrodynamic coefficients which were obtained through experiments and from the literature. To analyze the effect of the UC, the complicated nonlinear and coupled UC dynamics under currents forces, the governing equations of the UC dynamics are established based on the catenary equation method, then it is solved by applying the shooting method. The new formulation and solution of the UC dynamics yields the three dimensional position and forces of the UC end point under the current forces. Also, the advantage of the proposed method is that the catenary equations using shooting method can be solved in real time such that the calculated position and forces of UC according to time can be directly utilized to calculate the UV motion. The proposed method offers advantages of simple formulation, convenient use, and fast calculation time with exact result. Some simple numerical simulations were conducted to observe the dynamic behaviors of AUV with cable effects. The simulations results clearly reveal that the UC can greatly influence the motions of the vehicles, especially on the UV motions. Based on both the numerical model and simulation results developed in the dissertation, we may offer some valuable information for the operation of the UV and USV.
Secondly, for the design controller, a PD controller and its application to automatic berthing control of USV are also studied. For this, a nonlinear mathematical model for the maneuvering of USV in the presence of environmental forces was firstly established. Then, in order to control rudder and propeller during automatic berthing process, a PD control algorithm is applied. The algorithm consists of two parts, the forward velocity control and heading angle control. The control algorithm was designed based on the longitudinal and yaw dynamic models of USV. The desired heading angle was obtained by the so-called “Line of Sight” method. To support the validity of the proposed method, the computer simulations of automatic USV berthing are carried out. The results of simulation showed good performance of the developed berthing control system.
Also, a hovering-type AUV equipped with multiple thrusters should maintain the specified position and orientation in order to perform given tasks by applying a dynamic positioning (DP) system. Besides, the control allocation algorithm based on a scaling factor is presented for distributing the forces required by the control law onto the available set of actuators in the most effective and energy efficient way. Thus, it is necessary for the robust control algorithm to conduct successfully given missions in spite of a model uncertainty and a disturbance. In this dissertation, the robust DP control algorithm based on a sliding mode theory is also addressed to guarantee the stability and better performance despite the model uncertainty and disturbance of current and cable effects. Finally, a series of simulations are conducted to verify the availability of the generated trajectories and performance of the designed robust controller.
Thirdly, for the navigation of UV, a method for designing the path tracking controller using a Rapidly-exploring Random Trees (RRT) algorithm is proposed. The RRT algorithm is firstly used for the generation of collision free waypoints. Next, the unnecessary waypoints are removed by a simple path pruning algorithm generating a piecewise linear path. After that, a path smoothing algorithm utilizing cubic Bezier spiral curves to generate a continuous curvature path that satisfies the minimum radius of curvature constraint of underwater is implemented. The angle between two waypoints is the only information required for the generation of the continuous curvature path. In order to underwater vehicle follow the reference path, the path tracking controller using the global Sliding Mode Control (SMC) approach is designed. To verify the performance of the proposed algorithm, some simulation results are performed. Simulation results showed that the RRT algorithm could be applied to generate an optimal path in a complex ocean environment with multiple obstacles.