A Quantitative Parametric Study on Output Time Delays for Autonomous Underwater Cleaning Operations

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Offshore pipelines and structures require regular marine growth removal and inspection to ensure structural integrity. These operations are typically carried out by Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) and demand reliable and accurate feedback signals for operating the ROVs efficiently under harsh offshore conditions. This study investigates and quantifies how sensor delays impact the expected control performance without the need for defining the control parameters. Input-output (IO) controllability analysis of the open-loop system is applied to find the lower bound of the H-infinity peaks of the unspecified optimal closed-loop systems. The performance analyses have shown that near-structure operations, such as pipeline inspection or cleaning, in which small error tolerances are required, have a small threshold for the time delays. The IO controllability analysis indicates that off-structure navigation allow substantial larger time delays. Especially heading is vulnerable to time delay; however, fast-responding sensors usually measure this motion. Lastly, a sensor comparison is presented where available sensors are evaluated for each ROV motion’s respective sensor-induced time delays. It is concluded that even though off-structure navigation have larger time delay tolerance the corresponding sensors also introduce substantially larger time delays.
Original languageEnglish
Article number815
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The research is part of the ACOMAR project which is funded by the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP), journal number 64020-1093.

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: The authors would like to thank for the support from the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP) via the “ACOMAR—Auto Compact Marine Growth Remover” project (J.No. 64020-1093). Thanks also go to our project partners SubC Partner, Sihm Højtryk, Mati2ilt, Total E&P Denmark and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, and our colleagues from Aalborg University, for many valuable discussions and technical support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • AUV
  • input-output controllablilty
  • marine growth removal
  • pipeline inspection
  • ROV
  • sensors
  • structural integrity
  • time delay


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