Robust adaptive path following of underactuated ships

Khae Duc Do, Z. P. Jiang, J. Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Robust path following is an issue of vital practical importance to the ship industry. In this paper, a nonlinear robust adaptive control strategy is developed to force an underactuated surface ship to follow a predefined path at a desired speed, despite the presence of environmental disturbances induced by wave, wind and ocean-current. The proposed controller is scalable and is designed using Lyapunov's direct method and the popular backstepping and parameter projection techniques. Along the way of proving closed-loop stability, we obtain a new stability result for nonlinear cascade systems with non-vanishing uncertainties. Interestingly, it is shown in this paper that our developed control strategy is easily extendible to situations of practical importance such as parking and point-to-point navigation. Numerical simulations using the real data of a monohull ship are provided to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed methodology for path following of underactuated ships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-944
Number of pages16
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Adaptation
  • Cascade system
  • Nonlinear control
  • Parking
  • Path following
  • Point-to-point navigation
  • Robustness
  • Underactuated ship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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