The Atlantis Project: A GPS-Guided Wing-Sailed Autonomous Catamaran

Gabriel Hugh Elkaim

Abstract: An autonomous catamaran, based on a modified Prindle-19 day-sailing Catamaran, was built to test the viability of GPS-based system identification for precision control. The catamaran was fitted with several sensors and actuators to characterize the dynamics. Using an electric trolling motor, and lead ballast to match all-up weight, several system identification passes were performed to excite system modes and model the dynamic response. LQG controllers were designed based on the results of the system identification passes, and tested with the electric trolling motor. Line following performance was excellent, with cross track error standard deviations of less than 0.15 meters. The wing-sail propulsion system was fitted, and the controllers tested with the wing providing all forward thrust. Line following performance and disturbance rejection were excellent, with the cross track error standard deviations of approximately 0.30 meters, in spite of wind speed variations of over 50% of nominal value.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 53, Number 4
Pages: 237 - 247
Cite this article: Elkaim, Gabriel Hugh, "The Atlantis Project: A GPS-Guided Wing-Sailed Autonomous Catamaran", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 53, No. 4, Winter 2006-2007, pp. 237-247.
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