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Title:Multi-objective cooperative control for a ship-towing system in congested water traffic environments
Authors:Z. Du, R.R. Negenborn, V. Reppa

Journal:IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems

Abstract:This paper proposes a multi-objective cooperative control method for a ship-towing system in congested water traffic environments. The control objectives are to coordinate multiple autonomous tugboats for transporting a ship to: (i) follow the waypoints, (ii) adjust the heading, (iii) track the speed profile, and (iv) resolve collisions. The problem is tackled by the design of multiple control agents distributed in two control layers. Based on the strategy of model predictive control (MPC), the supervisory controller in the higher layer calculates the towing angles and forces of the ship, the tug controller in the lower layer computes the tug thruster forces and moment. The consensus between the lower and higher layer control is achieved by using the altering direction method of multipliers (ADMM) that makes the predicted tug position and heading approach to the desired tug trajectory. Simulation experiments indicate that the proposed method coordinates multiple autonomous tugboats to transport a ship smoothly and effectively and succeeds in multiple control objectives, in the meantime, the avoidance operation complies with COLREGS rules.

Reference:Multi-objective cooperative control for a ship-towing system in congested water traffic environments. Z. Du, R.R. Negenborn, V. Reppa. Accepted for publication in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 2022.
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