An H∞ controller combined with an Artificial Potential Field Method (APFM) was applied to seabed navigation for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), aimed particularly at obstacle avoidance and bottom-following operations in the vertical plane. Depth control and altitude control prevented the AUV from colliding with the sea bottom or with obstacles and prevented the AUV from diving beyond its maximum depth limit when bottom following. Simulation and laboratory trials with various seabed contours indicated that with the H∞ controller, the AUV was able to safely reach appointed destinations without collisions. Tests also showed that the H∞ controller was robust and suppressed interference, hence ensuring the precision of its navigation control. The proposed H∞ controller combined with the APFM has thus been proved to be both feasible and effective.
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