Application of Sampling Based Model Predictive Control to an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle


  • Charmane V. Caldwell
  • Damion D. Dunlap
  • Emmanuel G. Collins



Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs) can be utilized to perform difficult tasks in cluttered environments such as harbor and port protection. However, since UUVs have nonlinear and highly coupled dynamics, motion planning and control can be difficult when completing complex tasks. Introducing models into the motion planning process can produce paths the vehicle can feasibly traverse. As a result, Sampling-Based Model Predictive Control (SBMPC) is proposed to simultaneously generate control inputs and system trajectories for an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). The algorithm combines the benefits of sampling-based motion planning with model predictive control (MPC) while avoiding some of the major pitfalls facing both traditional sampling-based planning algorithms and traditional MPC. The method is based on sampling (i.e., discretizing) the input space at each sample period and implementing a goal-directed optimization (e.g., A*) in place of standard numerical optimization. This formulation of MPC readily applies to nonlinear systems and avoids the local minima which can cause a vehicle to become immobilized behind obstacles. The SBMPC algorithm is applied to an AUV in a 2D cluttered environment and an AUV in a common local minima problem. The algorithm is then used on a full kinematic model to demonstrate the benefits.


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How to Cite

Caldwell, C. V., Dunlap, D. D., & Collins, E. G. (2010). Application of Sampling Based Model Predictive Control to an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. Ciencia Y tecnología De Buques, 4(7), 55–64.



Scientific and Technological Research Articles