Cooperative Impedance Control for Multiple Underwater Vehicle Manipulator Systems under Lean Communication

Shahab Heshmati-Alamdari, Charalampos P. Bechlioulis, 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 with static obstacles, where the coordination relies solely on implicit communication arising from the physical interaction of the robots with the commonly grasped object. In this article, we propose a novel distributed leader-follower architecture, where the leading UVMS, which has knowledge of the object's desired trajectory, tries to achieve the desired tracking behavior via an impedance control law, navigating in this way, the overall formation toward the goal configuration while avoiding collisions with the obstacles. On the other hand, the following UVMSs estimate locally the object's desired trajectory via a novel prescribed performance estimation law and implement a similar impedance control law that achieves tracking of the desired trajectory despite the uncertainty and external disturbance in the object and the UVMS dynamics, respectively. The feedback relies on each UVMS's force/torque measurements and no explicit data is exchanged online among the robots, thus reducing the required communication bandwidth and increasing robustness. Moreover, the control scheme adopts load sharing among the UVMSs according to their specific payload capabilities. Finally, various simulation studies clarify the proposed method and verify its efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9118878
Pages (from-to)447-465
Number of pages19
JournalIEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Cooperative manipulation
  • implicit communication
  • marine robotics
  • underwater cooperative manipulation
  • underwater vehicle manipulator system (UVMS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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