Iterative modeling of a small underwater tethered remotely operated vehicle

Andrés F. Aldana, Helio Sneyder Esteban Villegas, Sebastián Roa Prada

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Remotely operated vehicles, ROV, are highly versatile robotic systems, which are currently the best alternative to carry out deep-sea tasks, that otherwise could compromise the safety of human lives. These vehicles are commonly used by several industries such as offshore oil companies, offshore wind energy companies and environmental organizations. These underwater vehicles may be classified as Free-Swimming Systems, FSS, or Tether Management Systems, TMS. Tether Management Systems use the cable to transmit data and steering commands, and as a mean for power supply. It is known that the cable has a strong influence on the dynamics and maneuverability of a ROV. To improve the motion accuracy and stability of the control of a ROV, it is necessary to understand the nature and to estimate the value of the mutual reaction forces between the ROV and the cable. This research seeks the modeling of the overall underwater tethered vehicle, by iteratively coupling the results from the finite element analysis, FEA, of the cable with the dynamic model of the ROV, as obtained by using the standard Newton-Euler formulation. Morison equation is employed to obtain the cable transient response. In this work, the ROV tether is defined as a flexible, slender cylinder, with circular cross section and made of a material with nonlinear elastic behavior. The cable is assumed to be in a specific extended initial configuration, with one of its ends fixed in ground. The FEA analysis of the cable is performed with the help of the commercial software COMSOL Multiphysics. A commercial small ROV is selected as the case study to apply the Newton-Euler method, considering the location of its actuators and other actual parameters such as mass, matrix of mass moments of inertia and drag coefficients. To include the cable forces into the dynamic model of the ROV, it is necessary to perform an iterative process between the cable analysis results and the ROV open loop response. The modeling approach starts with an FSS system initial velocity, which is fed into the cable FEA analysis. Both analyses are iterated, following a mutual feedback scheme, until results converge, obtaining the complete tethered vehicle model. The main achievement of this investigation is to observe the cable influence on the ROV, providing results that prove to be extremely useful for future work on the control system design, taking into account the disturbances introduced by the cable.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDynamics, Vibration, and Control
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
ISBN (Electronic)9780791852033
StatePublished - 2018
EventASME 2018 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2018 - Pittsburgh, United States
Duration: 9 Nov 201815 Nov 2018

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings (IMECE)


ConferenceASME 2018 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, IMECE 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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