Design. Modeling, and Nonlinear Model Predictive Tracking Control of a Novel Autonomous Surface Vehicle

Wei Wang, Luis A. Mateos, Shinkyu Park, Pietro Leoni, Banti Gheneti, Fabio Duarte, Carlo Ratti, Daniela Rus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

66 Scopus citations


In this paper, we present the design, modeling, and real-time nonlinear model predictive control (NMPC) of an autonomous robotic boat. The robot is easy to manufacture, highly maneuverable, and capable of accurate trajectory tracking in both indoor and outdoor environments. In particular, a cross type four-thruster configuration is proposed for the robotic boat to produce efficient holonomic motions. The robot prototype is rapidly 3D-printed and then sealed by adhering several layers of fiberglass. To achieve accurate tracking control, we formulate an NMPC strategy for the four-control-input boat with control input constraints, where the nonlinear dynamic model includes a Coriolis and centripetal matrix, the hydrodynamic added mass, and damping. By integrating 'GPS' modules and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) into the robot, we demonstrate accurate trajectory tracking of the robotic boat along preplanned paths in both a swimming pool and a natural river. Furthermore, the code generation strategy employed in our paper yields a two order of magnitude improvement in the run time of the NMPC algorithm compared to similar systems. The robot is designed to form the basis for surface swarm robotics testbeds, on which collective algorithms for surface transportation and self-assembly of dynamic floating infrastructures can be assessed.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781538630815
StatePublished - Sep 10 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2022-09-13


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