Formation control of multiple marine vehicles with velocity reference estimation-based passivity-control design

Jawhar Ghommam*, Faïçal Mnif, Oscar Calvo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses the problem of coordination path following control of multiple autonomous vehicles. Stated briefly, the problem consists of steering a group of vehicles along a specified path, while holding a desired inter-ship formation pattern. Path following for each vehicle amounts to reducing an appropriately defined geometric error to zero. We first show a passivity property for the path following system and, next, combine this with a passivity-based synchronisation algorithm to coordinate the vehicles along their paths. Vehicle coordination is achieved by adjusting the speed of each vehicle along its path according to information exchanged on the positions of a subset of the other vehicles, as determined by the communication topology adopted. We further assume the unavailability of the reference velocity to each vehicle; we consider the situation where this information is only available to a leader of this formation. Distributed observers are designed for the follower vehicles, under the assumption that the velocity of the leader cannot be measured in real time. Simulations results are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012


  • Cooperative control
  • Marine vehicle
  • Non-linear observer
  • Passivity theory
  • Path following
  • Serret-Frenet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics


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