A self-triggered position based visual servoing model predictive control scheme for underwater robotic vehicles

Shahab Heshmati-Alamdari, Alina Eqtami, George C. Karras, Dimos V. Dimarogonas, Kostas J. Kyriakopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An efficient position based visual sevroing control approach for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) by employing Non-linear Model Predictive Control (N-MPC) is designed and presented in this work. In the proposed scheme, a mechanism is incorporated within the vision-based controller that determines when the Visual Tracking Algorithm (VTA) should be activated and new control inputs should be calculated. More specifically, the control loop does not close periodically, i.e., between two consecutive activations (triggering instants), the control inputs calculated by the N-MPC at the previous triggering time instant are applied to the underwater robot in an open-loop mode. This results in a significantly smaller number of requested measurements from the vision tracking algorithm, as well as less frequent computations of the non-linear predictive control law. This results in a reduction in processing time as well as energy consumption and, therefore, increases the accuracy and autonomy of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. The latter is of paramount importance for persistent underwater inspection tasks. Moreover, the Field of View constraints (FoV), control input saturation, the kinematic limitations due to the underactuated degree of freedom in sway direction, and the effect of the model uncertainties as well as external disturbances have been considered during the control design. In addition, the stability and convergence of the closed-loop system has been guaranteed analytically. Finally, the efficiency and performance of the proposed vision-based control framework is demonstrated through a comparative real-time experimental study while using a small underwater vehicle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Autonomous underwater vehicle
  • Marine robotics
  • Self triggered control
  • Visual servoing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Control and Optimization
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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