Asymptotic backstepping stabilization of an underactuated surface vessel

Jawhar Ghommam*, Faïçal Mnif, Abderraouf Benali, Nabil Derbel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Citations (Scopus)


This brief addresses the problem of controlling the planar position and orientation of an autonomous underactuated surface vessel. Under realistic assumptions, we show, first, that there exists a natural change of coordinates that transforms the whole dynamical system into a cascade nonlinear system, and, second, the control problem of the resulting system can be reduced to the stabilization of a third-order chained form. A time-invariant discontinuous feedback law is derived to guarantee global uniform asymptotic stabilization of the system to the desired configuration. The construction of such a controller is based on the backstepping design approach. A simulation example is included to demonstrate the effectiveness of the suggested approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1150-1157
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Backstepping stabilization
  • Chained forms
  • Discontinuous control
  • Nonholonomic constraints
  • Nonlinear cascade systems
  • Underactuated surface vessels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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