Nonlinear MPC for Motion Control and Thruster Allocation of Ships
Sammanfattning: Critical automated maneuvers for ships typically require a redundant set of thrusters. The motion control system hierarchy is commonly separated into several layers using a high-level motion controller and a thruster allocation (TA) algorithm. This allows for a modular design of the software where the high-level controller can be designed without comprehensive information on the thrusters, while detailed issues such as input saturation and rate limits are handled by the TA. However, for a certain set of thruster configurations this decoupling may result in poor control performance due to the limited knowledge in the high-level controller about the physical limitations of the ship and the behavior of the TA. This thesis investigates different approaches of improving the control performance, using nonlinear Model Predictive Control (MPC) as a foundation for the developed motion controllers due to its optimized solution and capability of satisfying constraints. First, a decoupled system is implemented and results are provided for two simple motion tasks showing problems related to the decoupling. Thereafter, two different approaches are taken to remedy the observed drawbacks. A nonlinear MPC controller is developed combining the motion controller and thruster allocation resulting in a more robust control system. Then, in order to keep the control system modularized, an investigation of possible ways to augment the decoupled system so as to achieve similar performance as the combined system is carried out. One proposed solution is a nonlinear MPC controller with time-varying constraints accounting for the current limitations of the thruster system. However, this did not always improve the control performance since the behavior of the TA still is unknown to the MPC controller.
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