Dynamic Model of a Small Autonomous Hydrofoil Vessel

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Virginia Tech


This thesis presents the development of a six degree of freedom nonlinear dynamic model for a single-mast fully submerged hydrofoil vehicle. The aim of the model is to aid in evaluating various model-based controllers for autonomous operation by simulating their performance before implementation in the field. Initially, first principles approach is employed to develop an approximate dynamic model of the vehicle. Prediction of the vehicle motion using the first principles model is then compared with the data from the tow tank experiments to assess the accuracy of the assumptions made in estimating the hydrofoil performance. Additionally, the dynamic model is adjusted to reflect the measured hydrodynamic forces in the tow tank tests. Utilizing the modified dynamic model to simulate the vehicle motion, an initial height controller is designed and tuned in field trials until stable foiling state was achieved. We evaluate the field results and discuss the limitation of employing steady-state tow tank data in establishing the vehicle dynamic model.



Hydrodynamics, vehicle dynamics, nonlinear dynamics, model validation, unmanned marine vehicles, marine system identification and modeling, motion control