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Adaptive Control of Hydrodynamic Loads in Splash Zone

B. V. E. How1 , S. S. Ge1,∗ and Y. S. Choo2

Abstract— In this paper, adaptive control for hydrodynamic hydrodynamic loads is desirable but difficult to realize in
forces acting on payloads going through the splash zone are practice due to the difficulty in obtaining truly representative
investigated using model-based and non-model-based (neural parametric coefficients. For controller design, the parametric
network) parametrization techniques. After the presentation of
a detailed mathematical model for hydrodynamic loads during model should be simple enough for analysis, and yet be
water entry, model-based and non-model-based robust adaptive complex enough to capture the main dynamics of the system.
controllers are developed with closed-loop stability. Intensive Adaptive control schemes have been proposed for contin-
computer simulations are carried out to show the effectiveness uous time systems to address parametrization in a variety
of the proposed control techniques. It is observed that as the of mechanism [4], [5] and [6]. Neural networks, found to
parametrization techniques can capture the dominant dynamic
behaviours, higher feedback gains for model-based control can be able to approximate any continuous nonlinear function to
be used and the speed of adaptation can also be increased any desired accuracy over a compact set, can also be used as
for better control performance. It is also found that neural an alternative, to parameterize the nonlinear hydrodynamic
networks are suitable candidates for the modelling and adaptive loads and coupled with adaptive control for on-line tuning.
controller design of hydrodynamic loads. Since neural networks are used to approximate unknown
I. I NTRODUCTION nonlinear functions, the controllers can overcome some limi-
The development of subsea processing equipment and the tations of conventional adaptive controllers. Neural networks
trend to go into deeper waters for untapped oil fields will has also been embedded in the overall control strategy for
result in an increased focus on offshore installation tasks. modelling and compensation purposes in [7], [8], [9] and
Active, passive or hybrid heave compensation systems have [10]. Some in-depth developments in neural networks for
been developed for offshore cranes or module handling sys- modelling and control purposes have been made in [11],
tems for the installation of subsea equipments or structures [12] and [13]. The resulting scheme is non-model based and
such as trees, manifolds and templates. One of the most does not require the exact hydrodynamic load model which
critical phases of such operations is the water entry of the is difficult to obtain in practice.
hardware through the splash zone. In this paper, after reviewing the mathematical model for
The vertical hydrodynamic load on a product going controller design and simulation, we shall present a simple
through the splash zone is expressed as a combination of linear in the parameter (LIP) model that is representative and
terms from the pressure effects, slamming and viscous forces captures most of the observed hydrodynamic load phenom-
including the Froude-Kriloff forces, hydrostatic pressure and ena and is easy to use for controller design. To reduce further
viscous drag in [1], [2]. One of the fundamental problem the work load in obtaining a complete dynamic model, neural
in computing the water entry force is the resolution of the networks are also used to model the hydrodynamic loads.
instantaneous submerged volume and added mass of the For ease of comparison and uniformity, only LIP neural
structure. It is also a challenge to determine other parameters networks are investigated while multilayer neural networks
such as viscous drag due to the complex geometries of can be similar applied without much difficulty [12], [14] and
payload. In most cases, the best way to determine the [15]. Finally, extensive simulation studies are presented to
hydrodynamic coefficients are by means of model testing [3]. show the effectiveness of the proposed control methods of
However, uncertainties related to the model, measurement model-based and non-model-based control.
and scale effect still exists.
Traditionally, such hydrodynamic loads are treated as
bounded disturbances, and the standard proportional-integral- In this paper, since motion compensators only work in one
derivative (PID) algorithm is applied in motion control. degree of freedom, only the vertical motion of the payload
Although a high gain PID controller can reduce control moving through the splash zone will be considered and the
error, it is not recommended in practice due to the exis- effects from the vessel’s roll and pitch motions are neglected.
tence of measurement noise. Direct compensation of the The reference coordinates are fixed on the crane vessel with
positive z axis pointing downwards with the origin fixed on
The authors are with the Centre for Offshore Research and Engineering,
The National University of Singapore.
the deck of the vessel.
1 Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, The National
University of Singapore, Singapore 119260. A. Dynamic Modelling
2 Department of Civil Engineering, The National University of Singa-
A large class of heave compensation cranes can be repre-
pore, Singapore 117576
∗ To whom all correspondences should be addressed. Tel: (+65) 6516 sented by the combination of a passive spring damper system
6821, Fax: (+65) 6779 1103, E-mail: and an actively control winch system. The passive component
can be modelled with stiffness kc and damping coefficient particles and computed by an area pressure method:
dc . The dynamics of the system is shown in Fig 1 and is d ∂φ ¯¯
represented by fz = −ρgΩ(zr ) ¯
dt ∂z z=zr
mz̈ + dc ż + kc z + d(t) = mg + fz + u (1) = −ρgΩ(zr )z̈. (4)
Hence, the hydrodynamic loads due to pressure effects and
where m and g represents the mass and gravitational constant
slamming forces can be written as
of 9.81 ms−2 , z, ż, z̈ are the displacement, velocity, accelera-
tion of the payload in the downward z-direction respectively, fzp = −ρgΩ(zr ) − ρΩ(zr )z̈
u is the active control force, fz is the hydrodynamic load and 1
d(t) is the disturbance, assumed to be bounded by bd > 0 as −Zz̈r (z)z̈r − ρAs Cs żr2 . (5)
| d(t) |≤ bd .
2) Viscous Drag: Drag load caused by resistance to a
partially or fully submerged body moving through a viscous
B. Hydrodynamic Load Models
fluid can be described by
The hydrodynamics in this section is based on [1], [2] and 1
[16]. The vertical hydrodynamic load on a body entering the fzv =
− ρCD Apz żr |żr | (6)
water can be expressed as a combination of forces from the
pressure effects, slamming and viscous forces. where CD is the drag coefficient and Apz is the projected
1) Pressure effects and slamming forces: In [1], the efficient drag area in the vertical direction.
hydrodynamic loads are derived by the use of momentum Remark 1: Based on the above discussion, a more complete
theory. When there are no incident wave effects, the vertical model may consist of the following components as a sum
hydrodynamic force on a body penetrating the free-surface of forces from the pressure effects, slamming and viscous
can be written as forces, fz = fzp + fzv . The more complete model becomes

d dz ∂φ fz = −ρgΩ(zr ) − ρΩ(zr )z̈ − Zz̈r (z)z̈r

fz = −ρgΩ(zr ) − [Zz̈ (zr )( − )] 1 1
dt r dt ∂z − ρAs Cs żr2 − ρCD Apz żr |żr |. (7)
∂Zz̈r (zr ) 2 2 2
= −ρgΩ(zr ) − Zz̈r (zr )z̈r − żr (2)
∂zr Because of the difficulty in dealing with the nonlinear
parameters due to the complex geometry of subsea structures,
where the states zr , żr , z̈r denotes the position, velocity and
a simple LIP hydrodynamic model is introduced for the
acceleration of the payload relative to the wave profile with
combination of the pressure effects, slamming and viscous
zr = z − ζ(t), Ω(zr ) and Zz̈r (zr ) are the instantaneous
forces which has the ability to capture the downward bends
submerged volume and added mass of the product in the z-
and possible asymmetries. Equation (7) can be expressed in
direction relative to the wave respectively, ρ is the density of
the LIP form as
water at 1024 kgm−3 and φ is the potential for the incident
wave. The first term on the right represents the hydrostatic fz (ξ) = S T (ξ)P, (8)
pressure on the object and the second and third terms repre-
sent the effect of the added mass and the slamming forces. where
The slamming parameter (∂Zz̈r /∂zr ) is often written as S(ξ) = [zr , zr z̈, z̈r , żr2 , żr |żr |]T , (9)
(1/2)ρAs Cs , where As and Cs is denoted efficient slamming
P = [f1 , f2 , f3 , f4 , f5 ], (10)
area and slamming coefficient [17]. Hence, (2) becomes
1 S(ξ) being a vector of known basis functions, ξ =
fz = −ρgΩ(zr ) − Zz̈r (zr )z̈r − ρAs Cs żr2 . (3) [z̈, zr , z˙r , z̈r ] is the input variables and P is the vector of
unknown parameters which are not unique and depends on
Another component to be included is the Froude-Kriloff the instantaneous submerged volume, added mass as well as
pressure forces, dependant on the velocity of the water the position, velocities and accelerations of the payload, wave
and their relativity. The unknown parameters are assumed to
be linear, suitable for online identification and able to accom-
modate parametric changes due to environmental variations.
Although the LIP form is very desirable for model-based
hydrodynamic compensation, it is in no sense complete but
a more complete representation.
C. NN Hydrodynamic Load Model
NN offer a possible tool for the nonlinear mapping approx-
imation. A NN can approximate any continuous function to
arbitrarily any accuracy over a compact set if the size of the
Fig. 1. The dynamic system network is large enough [12]. Because of the complexity and
difficulty in modelling the hydrodynamic loads, NN may be Let (ˆ∗) be the estimate of (∗) and (˜∗) = (∗) − (ˆ ∗). We have
used to generate input-output maps for a non-model-based fˆz = S T P̂ , f˜z = S T P̃ . Consider the controller given by
approach. It has been proven that any continuous functions,
not necessarily infinitely smooth, can be uniformly approx- u = m̂z̈ref − m̂g + dˆc ż + k̂c z + fˆz + ur + ud (16)
imated by a linear combinations of Gaussian radial basis
R t ud is a standard PID type controller, ud = k1 r +
functions (RBF) [18]. The Gaussian RBF NN is a particular
ki 0 rdτ , k1 > 0 and ur is a robust control term for
network architecture which uses l Gaussian functions of the
suppressing any modelling uncertainty, ur = k2 sgn(r). The
³ −(ξ − µ )T (ξ − µ ) ´ closed-loop system is then given by
i i i i
si (ξi ) = exp (11)
σ2 mṙ + ur + ud = d + ² + ψ T θ̃, (17)
where ξi = [z̈, zr , z˙r , z̈r ] is the input variables of
where ψ T = [z̈ref , g, ż, z, S T ] and θ̃ = [m̃, m̃, d˜c , k˜c , P̃ ].
the i-th Gaussian RBF, σ 2 is the variance and µi =
Theorem 3.1: For system (1), there exist compact sets Θr ,
[µ1i , µ2i , µ3i , µ4i ] are the centers. The values of µ1 , µ2 ,
Θw and Θβ and positive constants β, σ, cθ and k1 such that
µ3 , µ4 and σ are carefully chosen such that they cover the
all signals in the closed loop system (17) are bounded and
operational range of the controller. A Gaussian RBF NN can
stable if the parameters are updated according to
be mathematically expressed as
h i
fm (ξi ) = S T (ξi )P (12) θ̂ = Γ ψr + σ θ̂ , σ > 0. (18)
where S(ξi ) = [s1 , s2 , ..., sl ]T ∈ Rl is the known basis Proof: Consider the positive Lyapunov function candidate
function vector and P ∈ Rl is the corresponding weight
vector. A general hydrodynamic load model f (ξi ) can then 1h 2 ³Z t ´2 i
be written as V = mr + θ̃T Γ−1 θ̃ + ki r dτ
2 0
f (ξi ) = fm (ξi ) + ²(ξi ) (13) with the time derivative of V given by
where fm (ξi ) is given in (8) and ²(ξi ) is the NN functional Z t
T −1 ˙
reconstruction error. If there exist an integer l and a constant V̇ = mrṙ + θ̃ Γ θ̃ + rki r dτ. (19)
P such that ² = 0, f (ξi ) is said to be in the functional range 0

of the NN. It is clear that the hydrodynamic load can be Substituting (17) into (19) leads to
described by the general form f (ξi ) = fm (ξi ) + ²(ξi ) where
fm (ξi ) = S T (ξi )P is the LIP model for the hydrodynamic V̇ = r(ψ T θ̃ + d + ² − k1 r − ur ) + θ̃T Γ−1 θ̃
force and ² is the residue modelling error. If S(ξi ) consists ˙
= −k1 r2 + r(d + ² − ur ) + rψ T θ̃ + θ̃T Γ−1 θ̃(20)
of the classical model basis functions listed in (7), P is the
corresponding coefficient vector. If S is the basis function Since θ is a constant, and noting the adaptive law (18),
vector of the NN model (8), P is the NN weight vector. h i
We only present LIP NN for ease of analysis and controller θ̃ = −Γ ψr + σ θ̂ , ΓT = Γ > 0 (21)
design later. Nonlinear or multilayer NN coupled with other
activation functions σ(.) can also be investigated following
the work of [14], [19] and [20]. V̇ = −k1 r2 + rυ − σ θ̃T θ̂ (22)

III. C ONTROL S YSTEM D ESIGN AND S TABILITY where υ = d + ² − ur . By completing the squares and using
A NALYSIS the following inequalities,
In this work, we investigate a unified adaptive controller
2θ̃T θ̂ = k θ̃ k2 + k θ̂ k2 − k θ k2
based on model and non-model-based parametrization tech-
niques which are LIP. A state-of-the-art heave compensa- ≥ k θ̃ k2 − k θ k2 , (23)
tion system combines a passive spring-damper mechanism
together with position control of the crane hook [2]. Hence, υ r2 1 υ υ2
the control objective for the controller design is to achieve −r2 + | r | ≤ − − (r − )2 +
k1 2 2 k1 2k1 2
motion control based on the proposed parametrization tech- r2 υ2
niques. ≤ − + , (24)
2 2
Let zd (t), żd (t) and z̈d (t) be the position, velocity and
acceleration respectively of the desired trajectory. We define we obtain,
the tracking errors as
k1 2 υ 2 σ k θ̃ k2 σ k θ k2
V̇ ≤ − r + − + .
e = zd − z, r = ė + λe (14) 2 2 2 2
where λ > 0. The velocity and acceleration signals are Considering k θ k≤ cθ , β = (1/2)(υ 2 + c2θ ),
defined as
k1 2 σ
żref = żd + λe, z̈ref = z̈d + λė. (15) V̇ ≤ − r − k θ̃ k2 +β, (25)
2 2
we define Using (32), (33) can be further simplified as
n ¯ 2β o
¯ −k1 r2 + 0.2785²r k2 .
Θr = r¯ | r |2 ≤ , (26) V̇ ≤ (34)
n ¯ 2β o Obviously, V̇ ≤ 0 whenever r is outside the compact set
Θw = θ̃¯ k θ̃ k2 ≤ (27) ½ ¯ ¾
σ ¯ 0.2785²r k2
n³ ´¯ k σ o D = r¯r2 ≤ . (35)
¯ 1
Θβ = r, θ̃ ¯ r2 + k θ̃ k2 ≤ β . (28) k1
2 2
Since β, σ, cθ and k1 are positive constants, we know that Thus, we can conclude that the closed-loop system is stable
Θr , Θw and Θβ are compact sets. From (25) it is shown the and the tracking error will converge to a small neighbourhood
V̇ ≤ 0 once the errors are outside the compact set Θβ . It of zero, whose size is adjustable by the design parameters k1
can also be seen that V̇ is strictly negative as long as r is and ²r . It should be mentioned that these modification may
outside the compact set Θr . It follows that 0 ≤ V (t) ≤ V (0), cause the estimated parameters to grow unboundedly because
∀t ≥ 0. Hence V (t) ∈ L∞ , which implies that θ̃ is bounded. asymptotic tracking cannot be guaranteed unless the robust
In other words, θ̂ is bounded for θ is a constant although control term in Theorem 3.1 is introduced.
unknown. Since r ∈ Ln2 , e ∈ Ln2 ∩ Ln∞ , e is continuous Remark 3: In the presence of approximation errors, the σ
and e → 0 as t → ∞ , and ė ∈ Ln2 . By noting that r ∈ modification scheme or e modification [22] among others
Ln2 , xd , ẋd , ẍd ∈ Ln∞ , and ψ is of bounded functions, it is can be used to modify the adaptive laws to guarantee the
concluded that ṙ ∈ Ln∞ . Using the fact that r ∈ L2∞ and robustness of the closed-loop system. In Theorem 3.1, the
ṙ ∈ Ln∞ , thus r → 0 as t → ∞. Hence ė → 0 as t → ∞. additional σ term in (18) ensures the boundedness of θ̂ when
Corollary 1: The closed loop system (17) is asymptotically the system is subject to bounded disturbance without any
stable if the parameters are updated with additional prior information about the plant. The drawback
of the robust modification method introduced here is that
θ̂ = Γψr, ΓT = Γ > 0 (29) the tracking errors may only be made arbitrarily small rather
than zero.
and the gain of the sliding mode control k2 ≥| d + ² |.
Proof: Noting the adaptive law (29), we have IV. S IMULATIONS
˙ In this section, the controller and model presented is
θ̃ = −Γψr, ΓT = Γ > 0 (30)
simulated using the same full scale parameters in [2]. The
Combining (22) and (30), product is assumed to be launched into the water through
V̇ = −k1 r2 + r(d + ² − ur ). (31) a moonpool, rigidly attached to an actively controlled crane
boom. The vessel is kept heading relative towards incoming
Since ur = k2 sgn(r) and k2 ≥| d + ² |, We have V̇ = waves, in a mean fixed position and is moving only due to
−k1 r2 ≤ 0. According to the standard Lyapunov theorem first order waves.
as above, we conclude that ė, θ̃, r, e, ψ and ṙ are bounded. The dynamics of the system are given by
The application of the Lyapunov stability theory guarantees
a level of performance for the system. mz̈ + dc ż + kc z = fz + u (36)
With regards to implementation issues, we make the where fz is expressed in (7). The following parameters are
following remarks: being used in the simulations. Mass, m = 15500kg, product
Remark 2: It is undesirable to directly implement the height h = 3m, Apz = 6.25m2 , r = 1.5m, Zz̈r (z = h) = 6
sliding control term to cancel the effect of the approximation and CD = 3.0. The water elevation is modelled as a sinusoid
errors due to the chattering which may excite mechanical wave with period and wave height T = 6.0s and ζ = 1.0m.
resonance. To alleviate this problem, many approximation This is used instead of the normal statistical method because
mechanisms have been used, such as introducing a boundary the penetration of the water surface normally has a duration
layer, saturation functions [14], and a hyperbolic tangent of one to three wave periods. Thus a worst case wave
function tanh(.), which has the following nice property [21], period is used that matches the resonance frequency of the
α moonpool. The nondimensional coefficients Cs , Ω(zr ) and
0 ≤| α | −α tanh( ) ≤ 0.2785², ∀α ∈ R. (32)
² Zz̈r (z) used in the simulations are shown in Fig 2 as a
By smoothing the sgn(.) function, the closed loop system is function of normalized depth with respect to product height
still stable with a small residual error although asymptotic h. The desired trajectory is generated by:
stability can no longer be guaranteed. For example, let ur =
xd (s) ωr2
k2 tanh(r/²r ), where ²r ≥ 0 is a constant, and k2 ≥| d + ² |, = (37)
then (31) becomes xref (s) s2 + 2λr ωr s + ωr2

V̇ = −k1 r2 + r(d + ² − ur ) where xref = 2h, ωr = 0.7rads−1 , λr = 1.0 and the

r controller parameters are chosen as λ = 50, ki = 0
≤ −k1 r2 + | r || d + ² | −rk2 tanh( ) and m̂(0) = 15500kg. The crane stiffness kc and the
r damping constant dc are calibrated and tested according to
≤ −k1 r2 + | r | k2 − rk2 tanh( ). (33) rules and regulations set by classification societies before
1 6 0.8
0.8 Zz̈ r (z) 5
0.6 k1=10000
z̈ r (z) [-] 4
and 0.6 k1=20000

e (m)
Ω(z) [-] 3 Cs (z) [
0.2 1 0.2
Cs (z)
0 0
0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 0
0 5 10 15
time (sec)
Fig. 2. Non-dimensional coefficients used in simulations
Fig. 3. Tracking errors with different PD gains
x 10
each operation and are assumed to be perfectly known.
The estimation errors of these two terms are at least one −0.5

order of magnitude less than the slamming forces and are

u (N)
neglected in the simulations. It is assumed that no other k =10000
knowledge of the system is known except for m̂(0). Hence, −1.5 1
k =20000
θ̂(0) = [m̂(0), m̂(0), 0, 0, P̂ (0)] where P̂ (0) = 0. To show −2
0 5 10 15
the robustness of the adaptive controller in the presence of time (sec)
approximation errors, we choose k2 = 0
Fig. 4. Control signals with different PD gains
A. Conventional PID Control
For the purpose of comparison, consider first the control 0.6
k1=10, Γ=10
performance when adaptation law is not activated by setting 0.4 k =50, Γ=50
the adaptation gain Γ = 0. In this case, the resulting control 1
k1=100, Γ=100
e (m)

action is effectively a conventional PID-type control with

m̂ = 15500
Z t −0.2

u = k1 r + ki rdτ − m̂g. (38) −0.4

0 5 10 15
0 time (sec)

For comparison of low-gain and high gain feedback control, Fig. 5. Tracking errors of model-based adaptive control
the following cases are selected: k1 = 5000, k1 = 10000
and k1 = 20000. 0
x 10

The tracking errors are shown in Fig 3 while the control

signals are shown in Fig 4. It can be observed from these re- −5
sults that the low gain PID-type controller cannot control the
u (N)

system satisfactorily and large tracking error exist. Although k =10, Γ=10
a high gain PID-type controller can reduce the tracking error k =50, Γ=50
as indicated, this is not recommended in practice owing to k =100, Γ=100
the existence of measurement noise which can induce large 0 5 10 15
time (sec)
tracking errors.
Fig. 6. Control signals of model-based adaptive control
B. Model-Based Adaptive Control
The hydrodynamic model have been chosen for analysis
incorporating three cases of different feedback gain and
adaptive gain. For cases 1, 2 and 3 the control feedback C. Non-Model-Based (NN) Control
gain and the adaptation mechanism is activated by choosing To show the effectiveness of non-model-based (NN) adap-
k1 = 10, Γ = diag[10], k1 = 50, Γ = diag[50] and k1 = 100, tive control, the Gaussian RBF NN of 81 nodes with σ 2 =
Γ = diag[100] respectively. The tracking errors are shown in 10.0 is chosen to approximate hydrodynamic loads. For the
Fig 5 and it was found that higher feedback gains and the controller, the following parameters are chosen: k1 = 10
increased speed of adaptation can result in improved tracking and Γ = diag[100]. The 4-dimensional input space for
performance. The feedback gain chosen is much lower as S(z̈, zr , żr , z̈r ) is defined as ΩS : {z̈ ∈ [0, 3.1], zr ∈
compared to that of a PID type controller. [−1.8, 3.3], żr ∈ [−2.5, 6.2], z̈r ∈ [−3, 9]} and the space is
Fig 6 shows the control signal, which is the actuator divided into grids with centers µi placed at the crossings.
force on the lift wire. A higher feedback gain and increased The tracking error and control signals are shown in Fig
speed of adaption results in less abruptness on the lift wire. 7 and 8 respectively. It can be seen that the NN adap-
However, system may become unstable if the feedback and tive controller can produce good tracking performance and
gain of adaptation chosen is too high. guarantees the boundedness of all the closed-loop signals
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