A Predictive Control Approach for Cooperative Transportation by Multiple Underwater Vehicle Manipulator Systems

Shahab Heshmati-Alamdari, George C. Karras, Kostas J. Kyriakopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article addresses the problem of cooperative object transportation for multiple underwater vehicle manipulator systems (UVMSs) in a constrained workspace involving static obstacles. We propose a nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC) approach for a team of UVMSs in order to transport an object while avoiding significant constraints and limitations, such as kinematic and representation singularities, obstacles within the workspace, joint limits, and control input saturation. More precisely, by exploiting the coupled dynamics between the robots and the object and using certain load sharing coefficients, we design a predictive controller for each UVMS in order to cooperatively transport the object within the workspace's feasible region. Moreover, the control scheme adopts load sharing among the UVMSs according to their specific payload capabilities. In addition, the feedback relies on each UVMS's onboard measurements and no explicit data are exchanged online among the robots, thus reducing the required communication bandwidth. Finally, realistic simulation results conducted in the UwSim dynamic simulator running in robot operating system (ROS) environment as well as real-time experiments employing two small UVMSs and demonstrated the effectiveness of the proposed control strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)917-930
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • Cooperative manipulation
  • marine robotics
  • nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC)
  • underwater navigation and control
  • underwater vehicle manipulator system (UVMS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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