Research Article  Open Access
Yaoyao Wang, Jiawang Chen, Linyi Gu, "Output Feedback FractionalOrder Nonsingular Terminal Sliding Mode Control of Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles", The Scientific World Journal, vol. 2014, Article ID 838019, 19 pages, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/838019
Output Feedback FractionalOrder Nonsingular Terminal Sliding Mode Control of Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles
Abstract
For the 4DOF (degrees of freedom) trajectory tracking control problem of underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in the presence of model uncertainties and external disturbances, a novel output feedback fractionalorder nonsingular terminal sliding mode control (FONTSMC) technique is introduced in light of the equivalent output injection sliding mode observer (SMO) and TSMC principle and fractional calculus technology. The equivalent output injection SMO is applied to reconstruct the full states in finite time. Meanwhile, the FONTSMC algorithm, based on a new proposed fractionalorder switching manifold, is designed to stabilize the tracking error to equilibrium points in finite time. The corresponding stability analysis of the closedloop system is presented using the fractionalorder version of the Lyapunov stability theory. Comparative numerical simulation results are presented and analyzed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. Finally, it is noteworthy that the proposed output feedback FONTSMC technique can be used to control a broad range of nonlinear secondorder dynamical systems in finite time.
1. Introduction
Fractional calculus, an extension of ordinary integerorder differential and integral calculus, is a 300yearold mathematical subject. However, its application to engineering and physics has only recently attracted significant attention [1–3]. One active field of the applications is fractionalorder controller design.
After the concept of the fractionalorder (FO) controller was first proposed [4], many FO control strategies combined with other classical control methods were proposed and investigated for both linear and nonlinear systems. One of these attractive control strategies is the combination of the FO control method and sliding mode control (SMC) technology [5, 6].
As one of the most significant achievements in modern control theory, SMC is a wellknown efficient control scheme for handling control problems with model uncertainties and external disturbances [7]. Therefore, SMC has been widely applied in many systems such as underwater vehicles [8–13], mobile manipulator [14], stochastic Markovian jumping systems [15], near space vehicles [16], hysteretic structural systems [17], and chaotic systems [18, 19]. SMC mainly contains two components: a driving part that forces the system states to reach and stay on a stable predescribed sliding surface and a sliding surface that ensures the desired error dynamics of the systems [20]. Usually, the sliding surface is described by arbitrary linear dynamics, and it can only guarantee asymptotic stability, which means the system states need infinite time to converge to the equilibrium point. However, it is widely believed that the finitetime stabilization of dynamical systems may give rise to a highprecision and fast system dynamic response [21]. Thus, terminal sliding mode control (TSMC) and its improved version, nonsingular TSMC (NTSMC), which are variant schemes of traditional SMC and can achieve finitetime stability, were proposed and investigated [21–28]. Inspired by this idea, some control strategies combining fractional calculus and TSMC/NTSMC have been reported for both fractionalorder and integerorder systems in the past few years [29–32]. It has been verified that the fractionalorder TSMC/NTSMC method can ensure better control performance than the integerorder ones even for the integerorder plants.
Recalling the development of the fractionalorder SMC/TSMC/NTSMC methods over the past few years, almost all theoretical studies and practical applications have focused on the full state feedback control strategies, which, however, may be unsuitable in many practical applications due to the immeasurability of the full states. Although a fractionalorder dynamic output feedback sliding mode controller has been reported recently [33], it should be mentioned that the method proposed in [33] is designed for a class of fractionalorder nonlinear systems and that the traditional linearhyperplanebased SMC method was adopted instead of TSMC or NTSMC. Meanwhile, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, there has been no study on the development of an output feedback fractionalorder TSMC/NTSMC (FOTSMC/FONTSMC) strategy for integerorder systems. Therefore, designing an output feedback fractionalorder TSMC/NTSMC (FONTSMC/FONTSMC) strategy for the integerorder systems still remains an open and challenging problem to be solved.
Thus, in light of the equivalent output injection sliding mode observer (SMO) [34, 35], TSMC technology, and fractional calculus, we propose an output feedback FONTSMC scheme for underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), a classical multivariable nonlinear secondorder dynamic system, in this paper for the first time. The effects of model uncertainties and external disturbances are also taken into account and the proposed control scheme is able to tackle all of these uncertainties in the system dynamics. The main contributions of this paper are as follows: (1) design an equivalent output injection SMO for ROVs and present the corresponding proof; (2) design a novel fractionalorder nonsingular terminal sliding manifold which is applicable for the classical secondorder systems of ROVs; (3) design a novel control law to guarantee the reachability of the proposed sliding manifold; (4) prove the finite time stabilization of the closedloop observercontroller systems with fractionalorder dynamics for secondorder systems. Finally, the goal of this control scheme is to control ROVs to track the desired trajectory in finite time using only the plants’ output signal in the presence of model uncertainties and external disturbances.
The rest of this paper is organized as follows. In Section 2, some basic definitions and preliminaries of fractionalorder calculus are presented. In Section 3, the system description and problem formulation are introduced. In Section 4, the integerorder TSMC and NTSMC are briefly reviewed. In Section 5, the design procedure of the proposed fractionalorder output feedback FONTSMC is demonstrated. Corresponding stability and reachability analyses are performed. In Section 6, the validation of the proposed method is verified through numerical simulations. Finally, some conclusions are presented in Section 7.
2. Preliminaries
In this section, basic definitions of fractional calculus and a necessary fractional calculus stability lemma are presented. Two of the most commonly adopted definitions are the RiemannLiouville and Caputo definitions.
Definition 1 (see [36]). The thorder RiemannLiouville fractional derivative of function with respect to and the terminal value is defined as and the thorder RiemannLiouville fractional integration is defined as where , , and is the Gamma function.
Definition 2 (see [36]). The Caputo fractional derivative of order of a continuous function is defined as follows: where is the first integer larger than .
Property 1 (see [36]). If the fractional derivative () of a function is integrable, then
Lemma 3 (see [37]). The fractional integration operator with is bounded as
3. System Description and Problem Formulation
The standard form of the kinematics and dynamics equations of ROVs in 4DOF, described in the earthfixed coordinate and bodyfixed coordinate frames as indicated in Figure 1, can be written as follows [38]: where denotes the ROV’s location and orientation in the earthfixed coordinate, whereas denotes the vector of the ROV’s linear and angular velocity expressed in the bodyfixed coordinate. is the inertial matrix including added mass. represents the Coriolis and centripetal forces. is the hydrodynamic damping term, and the vector is a combined force/moment of gravity and buoyancy in the bodyfixed coordinate. , , , and are the nominal parameter matrices, whereas , , , and are the model uncertainties. is the disturbance force/moment vector expressed in the bodyfixed coordinate and is the system control input.
is the kinematic transformation matrix which expresses the transformation from the bodyfixed frame to earthfixed frame and can be expressed as follows:
The other simplified parameter matrices can be expressed as follows: where and denote the weight and buoyancy of the ROV, respectively.
Before we present the main results, necessary preliminary information is provided [21, 34].
Assumption 4 (see [34]). The MIMO dynamic system given by (6) does not have a finite escape time.
Assumption 5 (see [34]). The control input belongs to the extended space, denoted by in this paper. Any truncation of to a finite time interval is bounded.
Assumption 6 (see [34]). The desired trajectory is smooth; that is, and are bounded, exist, and are known.
Lemma 7 (see [21]). An extended Lyapunov description of finitetime stability can be given with form of fast TSM as and the settling time can be given by
4. Review of the IntegerOrder TSM and NTSM
In this section, definitions of the TSM and NTSM are briefly introduced as a necessary preparation for the output feedback FONTSMC design.
Definition 8 (see [21, 24]). The TSM and NTSM are equivalent and can be, respectively, described by the following firstorder nonlinear differential equations: where
The TSM and NTSM defined in (11) are continuous and differentiable despite the adoption of the absolute value and the signum operator; the first derivatives thereof can be, respectively, expressed as follows [21]:
5. Main Results
In this section, we will develop an output feedback FONTSMC approach for the trajectory tracking control of ROVs in the presence of model uncertainties and external disturbances. First, an equivalent output injection SMO will be established to estimate the ROV’s velocity. Then, a novel fractionalorder nonsingular terminal sliding manifold will be proposed to ensure the desired dynamics. Finally, a control law is designed to force the trajectory to reach the designed sliding manifold in finite time and remain on it forever.
5.1. Equivalent Output Injection Sliding Mode Observer Design
In this subsection, the equivalent output injection SMO will be designed and analyzed. The following notation will be used except stated otherwise: represents the estimation of and represents the th component of the vector . The math operations used between two vectors are performed in terms of the corresponding elements. And in this paper, .
The nonlinear model of ROVs in the earthfixed coordinate is adopted here to simplify the SMO design procedure [38]: where is the velocity vector in the earthfixed frame, and the parameter matrices in (15) can be described as follows:
Property 2 (see [38]). The parameter matrices have some great properties in earthfixed frame when and . Consider
Define and . Then, according to (14) and (15), the following model of ROVs in the earthfixed coordinate can be obtained: where is the lumped uncertainty including model uncertainties and external disturbances.
Assumption 9 (see [39]). The lumped uncertainty is local Lipschitz continuous and can be bounded with a constant unknown vector :
Remark 10. In practical applications, the control inputs of ROVs are obviously bounded which means that if the lumped uncertainty is unbounded, we cannot effectively control the trajectory of the ROVs.
Inspired by [34, 39], the equivalent output injection SMO for ROVs is designed as follows: where and are positive constant vectors to be designed and and are estimation errors. Consider ; is the equivalent output injection, which can be obtained by passing the signal through a low pass filter; more details can be found in [35].
Thus, the observer error dynamics can be obtained in terms of (18) and (20): where .
Theorem 11. Under Assumptions 4–9, the equivalent output injection SMO (20) for ROVs can guarantee that the estimation errors and converge to 0 in finite time.
Proof. The proof procedure is similar to those presented in [34, 39] with the exception that a different dynamic model is used here. As demonstrated in [10], the sliding mode technology allows systems to be separately designed and analyzed for each DOF. Hence, the proof procedure will be presented in each separate DOF for simplicity. The proof will be presented in two steps.
Step 1. This step will prove that the estimation error will converge to zero in finite time. Choose a Lyapunov candidate for the estimation error dynamic (21) as
where .
Differentiating with respect to time along (21) yields
According to Assumptions 4, 5, and 9, the estimation error does not have finite escape time. This effectively ensures that the estimation error is in the space. Thus, if we choose , , then the following inequality can be obtained:
Therefore, the finite time convergence of to 0 will be guaranteed. Choose , where is chosen large enough that ; thus inequality (25) will always hold. Taking the fact that into consideration, we have
Using the differential inequality principle [40, 41], we can conclude that when , where is the initial time. Furthermore, when , . Hence, on the sliding mode, and . Thus, we have . Therefore, the observer error dynamics (21)(22) of the th component can be rearranged as follows:
Step 2. We will prove that the estimation error will converge to zero in finite time. Choose Lyapunov function candidate as follows:
Since when , differentiating along (27) yields
If we choose , is a positive constant to be designed; then (29) can be rewritten as . Applying the same proof procedure indicated in Step 1, we can have that will convergence to 0 as . Therefore, the estimation errors and will converge to 0 in finite time. The proof is completed.
5.2. Output Feedback FONTSMC Design
In this subsection, a novel output feedback FONTSMC method for the 4DOF trajectory tracking control of ROVs will be proposed and analyzed using the proposed equivalent output injection SMO. The design procedure mainly involves two steps. First, a novel nonlinear fractionalorder nonsingular terminal sliding manifold will be proposed. Then, a control law will be designed to ensure the finitetime reachability of the proposed sliding manifold.
To simplify the application of the equivalent output injection SMO, the dynamic equations (20) will be rewritten in the bodyfixed coordinate as follows: where is the estimation error and . is the equivalent output injection of , which can be acquired by passing signal through a low pass filter [34, 39].
Define the estimated tracking error and its derivative as
Then, the estimated tracking error dynamic can be obtained as where and .
In light of the TSM defined in (11), the novel fractionalorder nonsingular terminal sliding mode (FONTSM) is designed as where , , and are positive parameter matrices to be designed.
A fastTSMtype reaching law is adopted here [21]: where , , and are positive parameter matrices to be designed.
Then, the output feedback FONTSMC is designed as follows: where is a positive constant vector to be designed.
Theorem 12. Consider an estimated tracking error dynamic (32) subjected to the output feedback FONTSMC (35). Then, the estimated tracking errors and will converge to zero in finite time. Moreover, according to the principle of equivalent output injection SMO, the system trajectory tracking errors and will converge to 0 in finite time.
Proof. As demonstrated in [42], it is more appropriate to prove the occurrence of the sliding mode via fractionalorder Lyapunov stability theorems [2, 43] when the closedloop systems involve fractionalorder dynamics.
Inspired by the proof procedure presented in [31], a Lyapunov function is selected as follows:
Then, differentiating (36) with respect to time yields
Substitute the estimated tracking error dynamic (32) and the control law (35) yields
where .
If we choose large enough such that , then inequality (38) can be rewritten as
According to Lemma 7, the finite time occurrence of the sliding mode can be guaranteed. And the settling time can be estimated as
where is the initial value of .
The trajectory on the sliding manifold will be analyzed as follows. On the FONTSM, the behavior of the closedloop system is dominated by the equivalent control law [7]. Differentiating the FONTSM with respect to time yields
Then, the equivalent control law can be obtained as
When the trajectory is on FONTSM, we have . Furthermore, it is noteworthy that, according to Assumptions 4–9, the desired trajectory is bounded and smooth, and the estimated tracking errors and are in the set . Thus, any finite truncation of the tracking error subject to the equivalent control will be bounded. In addition, according to Theorem 11, if the gains and are chosen appropriately, the estimated system states will converge to the real ones in finite time regardless of the stability of the closedloop system. After , the estimated system states will converge to the real ones and stay on the FONTSM. Thus, during the FONTSM, substituting the equivalent control law (42) into the estimated tracking error dynamics (32) yields
where and are the real tracking errors of the closedloop system.
Equation (43) can be rearranged as follows:
Now, we will prove that the tracking errors and will converge to zero in finite time using a proof procedure similar to that of [32]. Define a stopping time as follows:
According to Definition 1 and operator and the associativity law, (44) can be rewritten as
According to Lemma 3, we have
Then, substituting (47) into (46) yields
Equation (48) can be rearranged as
Noting that at , it yields
If , then . Otherwise, we have
Therefore, ROVs can track the desired trajectory in finite time using only the systems’ output position signal. The proof is completed.
6. Simulation Results
In this section, some numerical simulations are performed to illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed method. The nominal physical parameters of the ROV are listed in Table 1.

The control parameters are as follows: , , , , , , , , , , , , and . , , , and are the initial values of the real and estimated position and velocity information. The desired trajectory is . To illustrate the robustness of the proposed method, timevarying disturbances and a parametric variant of 20%, which indicate that the nominal physical parameters used in the output feedback FONTSMC are 20% less than those used in the model, are introduced into the closedloop system. Furthermore, the dynamics of the propellers are also taken into account. We treat the propellers as oneorder initial systems with a time constant of 0.5 seconds.
To compare with the integerorder control method expressed as output feedback IONTSMC, we adopt the NTSM manifold defined in the second equation of (11), and then the control law (35) will be changed to where the new parameter matrices and can be obtained using (12). The other parameters remain unchanged for the fairness of comparision.
The control performance is listed as in Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Performance of the proposed equivalent output injection SMO (20) combined with fractionalorder/integerorder dynamics is shown in Figures 2–5, respectively. It is clear that the proposed equivalent output SMO can ensure finitetime convergence to the real system states with both fractionalorder and integerorder dynamics in the presence of model uncertainties and external disturbances. Figures 67 show the trajectory tracking control performance of the output feedback FONTSMC and IONTSMC. It is clear that the FONTSMC can obtain a faster convergence rate and a better dynamic response at the initial stage than the IONTSMC, whereas both of them can achieve great robustness against the lumped uncertainties. Furthermore, Figures 89 demonstrate that both of the methods have a very serious chattering problem in the control inputs. This problem is mainly caused by the discontinuous terms in the control laws (35) and (52) referred to as .
To eliminate the chattering phenomenon, the sign functions in of the control laws (35) and (52) are replaced by saturation functions with a boundary layer of 0.005. Corresponding simulation results are shown in Figures 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17. It can be clearly observed that the replacement of the sign function does not have an apparent negative effect on the control performance of either method. In addition, the chattering phenomenon is effectively reduced, as shown in Figures 1617. It is clear that the FONTSMC method can still guarantee a faster convergence rate and a better dynamic response than IONTSMC with the boundary layer.
7. Conclusions
In this study, a novel output feedback FONTSMC is designed for classical nonlinear secondorder systems of ROVs in light of the equivalent injection SMO and TSMC technology and fractional calculus. The model uncertainties and external disturbances are taken into account throughout the design and analysis procedures. The proposed control scheme can effectively ensure the finitetime stabilization of the closedloop system using only the plant’s output signal. Corresponding stability analysis of the closedloop system is presented using the fractionalorder version of the Lyapunov stability theory. The results of comparative numerical simulation demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed control method and its superior performance over that of the output feedback IONTSMC.
Conflict of Interests
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.
Acknowledgments
This study was funded by the Project (no. 51004085) supported by National Science Foundation of China and the Program for Zhejiang Leading Team of S&T Innovation (no. 2010R50036). The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their detailed and valuable comments which strengthened this paper.
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Copyright © 2014 Yaoyao Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.