Global tracking control of underactuated ships by Lyapunov's direct method

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This paper studies the global tracking problem for an underactuated ship with only two propellers. Under sufficient conditions of persistent excitation, two constructive solutions are proposed by application of Lyapunov's direct method. Both solutions exploit the inherent cascade interconnected structure of the ship dynamics and generate explicit Lyapunov functions. A common feature of the second solution and the recent cascade approach of Lefeber (Tracking control of nonlinear mechanical systems, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Twente, 2000) is that global exponential tracking is achieved, but at the expense of transient performance. Extension to unmeasured thruster dynamics is also considered. Simulation results validate the proposed tracking methodology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-309
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2002


  • Global tracking
  • Lyapunov functions
  • Nonlinear control
  • Ship control
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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