Model-based feedback control of autonomous underwater gliders

Naomi Ehrich Leonard, Joshua G. Graver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

349 Scopus citations


We describe the development of feedback control for autonomous underwater gliders. Feedback is introduced to make the glider motion robust to disturbances and uncertainty. Our focus is on buoyancy-propelled, fixed-wing gliders with attitude controlled by means of active internal mass redistribution. We derive a nonlinear dynamic model of a nominal glider complete with hydrodynamic forces and coupling between the vehicle and the movable internal mass. We use this model to study stability and controllability of glide paths and to derive feedback control laws. For our analysis, we restrict to motion in the vertical plane and consider linear control laws. For illustration, we apply our methodology to a model of our own laboratory-scale underwater glider.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-645
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Autonomous underwater vehicles
  • Buoyancy control
  • Glider control
  • Glider dynamics
  • Movable mass
  • Underwater gliders


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