Ship automatic pilot system design has captured the attention of many prominent control
engineers with the increasing demand for accurate and more adequate pilots to keep a tighter
control in more confined waterways and reduce fuel consumption by improving the course
of navigation. Strategies for ship control involving both classical and modern schemes are
examined. These include the pole-assignment controller which is an attractive scheme with
a simple nature. Modern optimal techniques are also used to reduce the propulsion losses and
minimise the travelled distance; the minimum variance controller is implemented for both
course-keeping and course-changing requirements. The self-tuning (adaptive) approach which
combines the controller design and the identification of system parameters is implemented
and various parameter estimation algorithms are examined. Finally a dual-mode adaptive
autopilot is designed that can be switched between course-keeping and course-changing with
the helmsman taking over if the situation demands.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.