DOI: 10.3390/jmse11122346 ISSN: 2077-1312

A Formation Control and Obstacle Avoidance Method for Multiple Unmanned Surface Vehicles

Guanqun Liu, Naifeng Wen, Feifei Long, Rubo Zhang
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

This study introduces a method for formation control and obstacle avoidance for multiple unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) by combining an artificial potential field with the virtual structure method. The approach involves a leader–follower formation structure, where the leader autonomously avoids collisions using an artificial potential field based on the target’s position as a reference. It also determines the ideal position of each follower in the formation based on its own position, heading angle, and the formation structure. To effectively avoid obstacles and maintain formation, the follower selects the position of the target or its ideal position as a reference during movement, depending on whether it is being repelled by obstacles. Additionally, this paper modifies the attractive force model of the traditional artificial potential field method to restrict the maximum magnitude of the attractive force when encountering repulsive forces, thus expediting departure from obstacle areas. The dynamic characteristics of USVs are taken into account by constraining the maximum linear speed and angular speed. Formation stability is ensured by maintaining a constant speed for the leader, while the linear speed of the follower varies based on the distance to the reference object during movement. Simulation experiments demonstrated that this method can effectively avoid obstacles and maintain formation.

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