Conventional multivariable and adaptive controllers are hard to design for Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROVs) because their dynamics are strongly coupled, highly nonlinear and vary according to the vessel’s operating configuration. An alternative design procedure which combines some of the ideas of adaptive and robust control is based on a “self-test” which the vehicle can be programmed to execute autonomously. The resulting controller is evaluated by examining its closed-loop poles, responses to step changes in reference inputs and rejection of disturbances caused by turbulence.

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