Thrust Allocation for Jet Driven Surface Vessels
Abstract: Dynamic positioning systems have been under development since the first implementation in the early 1960s. The purpose of a dynamic position system is to allow for automatic positioning of a vessel when circumstances do not allow for mooring or anchoring. Historically the development has been driven forward by the offshore industry, while in recent years such systems have been found useful in other parts of the maritime industry as well. However, very few options exist today for jet driven vessels. One of the main parts of a dynamic positioning system is the control allocation. The purpose of this part is to allocate desired actuation to available actuators. It is often desirable to do this while considering a secondary objective, often energy consumption. One allocation algorithm option is direct allocation, which is considered to be quite a basic solution. More advanced options exist in the literature but implementations of them are still uncommon. An example of a more advanced option, allowing for better tuning, is using model-based allocators. Formulating the allocation problem as a linear quadratic problem and using a linear quadratic regulator is one viable option that has been proven to work well for non-jet driven vessels. A general vessel model is developed and used for simulating and testing different allocators. Furthermore, a method for transforming the allocated actuation into parameters that can control the jet engine is also proposed. This is a necessary step in order to be able to implement the allocation onto a vessel. Comparing the allocation options based on step responses with and without disturbances shows that the linear quadratic regulator preforms better than the direct allocator in almost every way. However, the main drawback of model-based controllers is the needed knowledge about the system. This is something that is not required for the direct allocator and is worth taking into account.
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