A self-tuning fuzzy-sliding mode controller is presented in the current work. It aims at combining the advantages of the variable structure systems (VSS) theory with the self-tuning fuzzy logic controller. Neither the development of an accurate dynamic model of the plant nor the construction of a rule-based expert system is required for designing the controller. The only requirement is that the upper bound of the modeling uncertainties has to be known. The stability of the controlled system is ensured by forcing the tuning parameter to satisfy the sliding condition. The controller is implemented to control the heading of an under-actuated ship. The simulation results demonstrate the robust performance of the controller in accurately tracking the desired yaw angle specified by the guidance system in the presence of considerable modeling imprecision and environmental disturbances.

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