Towards the Development of Autonomous Ferries
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Autonomous ships is at the moment a heavily researched topic in the maritime industry. Development to introduce autonomous ferries in the Norwegian fjords is under way. This thesis is a study of technical and formal challenges related to autonomous ferries. The thesis goes into topics such as industrial control systems for ships, path planning and collision avoidance algorithms, as well as automatic docking. Additionally, information and statistics regarding ferry activities in Norway are presented. Various path planning algorithms are examined, and a distinction has been made between roadmap methods and optimization-based parametrized path generation. Additional research on the optimization-based methods is performed. Software for optimal control with the pseudospectral method is demonstrated. A nonlinear 3-DOF ship model is used to generate feasible time-optimal and energy-optimal paths. A guidance controller is implemented in a simulation to verify the feasibility of the paths when the ship is exposed to unknown disturbances. A selection of collision avoidance algorithms are reviewed. This is related to sensors, sensor fusion and target tracking systems. Finally, various methods for automatic docking are reviewed. This review consists of algorithms used with underwater and surface vessels in static environments.