Geometric Control Theory and its Application to Underwater Vehicles
Smith, Ryan N. (2008) Geometric Control Theory and its Application to Underwater Vehicles. PhD thesis, .
This dissertation is based on theoretical study and experiments which extend geometric control theory to practical applications within the field of ocean engineering. We present a method for path planning and control design for underwater vehicles by use of the architecture of differential geometry. In addition to the theoretical design of the trajectory and control strategy, we demonstrate the effectiveness of the method via the implementation onto a test-bed autonomous underwater vehicle.
Bridging the gap between theory and application is the ultimate goal of control theory. Major developments have occurred recently in the field of geometric control which narrow this gap and which promote research linking theory and application. In particular, Riemannian and affine differential geometry have proven to be a very effective approach to the modeling of mechanical systems such as underwater vehicles. In this framework, the application of a kinematic reduction allows us to calculate control strategies for fully and under-actuated vehicles via kinematic decoupled motion planning. However, this method has not yet been extended to account for external forces such as dissipative viscous drag and buoyancy induced potentials acting on a submerged vehicle. To fully bridge the gap between theory and application, this dissertation addresses the extension of this geometric control design method to include such forces.
We incorporate the hydrodynamic drag experienced by the vehicle by modifying the Levi-Civita affine connection and demonstrate a method for the compensation of potential forces experienced during a prescribed motion. We present the design method for multiple different missions and include experimental results which validate both the extension of the theory and the ability to implement control strategies designed through the use of geometric techniques.
By use of the extension presented in this dissertation, the underwater vehicle application successfully demonstrates the applicability of geometric methods to design implementable motion planning solutions for complex mechanical systems having equal or fewer input forces than available degrees of freedom. Thus, we provide another tool with which to further increase the autonomy of underwater vehicles.
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