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Quay-to-quay mission with autonomous docking: a model-scale experimental validation

AuthorsKruif, B. J. de, Daalen, E. F. G. van, Cozijn, H., Iavicoli, G.
Conference/JournalJournal of Marine Engineering & Technology
Date23 May 2024
Transport of cargo by short-sea shipping is at the forefront of the European Union’s transportation policy. It has the promise to alleviate congested land transport and decrease pollution [European Commission. 2021. Putting European transport on track for the future]. However, the shortage of qualified personnel might impede this solution. Autonomous sailing of ships could help, especially if the whole trip is automated. In this study a control system is designed that is capable of sailing a round-trip with a model-scale feeder vessel in Marin’s Seakeeping and Manoeuvring Basin. The Guidance-Navigation-Control framework is used to sail this journey with attention given to smooth switching between the operational modes. A set of experiments is conducted to validate the controller and identify crucial parts in the operation. The experiments showed that the controlled vessel can sail a round-trip with different levels of waves and wind disturbances coming from different directions. Furthermore, the round-trip can be modified such that the approach angle to the quay changes and the ship still successfully docks at the quay. It was found that the approach to the quay is most difficult during transition from high to low speed, when the bow thrusters have yet to become effective, and a large change in course is needed. This can be circumvented by changing the trajectory to the quay to have a longer straight approach, or it can be corrected when the bow thrusters become active.


Contact person photo

Bas de Kruif

Senior Researcher

Ed van Daalen

Senior Researcher

Hans Cozijn

Senior Project Manager

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autonomy and decision supportmeasurements and controlmanoeuvring