A robust interaction control approach for underwater vehicle manipulator systems

Shahab Heshmati-Alamdari, Charalampos P. Bechlioulis, George C. Karras, Alexandros Nikou, Dimos V. Dimarogonas, Kostas J. Kyriakopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In underwater robotic interaction tasks (e.g., sampling of sea organisms, underwater welding, panel handling, etc) various issues regarding the uncertainties and complexity of the robot dynamic model, the external disturbances (e.g., sea currents), the steady state performance as well as the overshooting/undershooting of the interaction force error, should be addressed during the control design. Motivated by the aforementioned considerations, this paper presents a force/position tracking control protocol for an Underwater Vehicle Manipulator System (UVMS) in compliant contact with a planar surface, without incorporating any knowledge of the UVMS dynamic model, the exogenous disturbances or the contact stiffness model. Moreover, the proposed control framework guarantees: (i) certain predefined minimum speed of response, maximum steady state error as well as overshoot/undershoot concerning the force/position tracking errors, (ii) contact maintenance and (iii) bounded closed loop signals. Additionally, the achieved transient and steady state performance is solely determined by certain designer-specified performance functions/parameters and is fully decoupled from the control gain selection and the initial conditions. Finally, both simulation and experimental studies clarify the proposed method and verify its efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-325
Number of pages11
JournalAnnual Reviews in Control
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Autonomous underwater vehicles
  • Force/position control
  • Marine robotics
  • Nonlinear control
  • Robust control
  • Underwater vehicle manipulator systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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