Autonomous control of a robotic manipulator mounted on a submersible autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is simulated with various strategies employing combinations of feedback and feedforward control. Feedforward compensation of the manipulator motion is accomplished using a model of the system kinematics and dynamics. Hydrodynamic effects including drag, buoyancy, and added mass, as well as the reaction of the vehicle, are all compensated. Effective manipulator position control is accomplished through stabilization of the vehicle orientation and system barycenter. Stabilization of the vehicle position using feedback and/or feedforward control is also considered for comparison. Compensation of the hydrodynamic effects while stabilizing the vehicle orientation and allowing vehicle translation resulted in a significant reduction in power consumption. Although experimental verification of the results is required, the improvement in efficiency may be beneficial for submersible vehicles operating in extremely remote conditions or extraterrestrial environments such as the oceans of Jupiter's moon, Europa.

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IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Lynch, B. (Brian), & Ellery, A. (2014). Efficient control of an AUV-manipulator system: An application for the exploration of Europa. IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, 39(3), 552–570. doi:10.1109/JOE.2013.2271390