An AUV for Ocean Exploring and its Motion Control System Architecture

Lei Zhang 1, 2, Da-peng Jiang , Jin-xin Zhao 1, 2, *, 1, 2, Shan Ma 1, 2
1 College of Shipbuilding Engineering, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin 150001, China
2 National Key Lab of Science and Technology on Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin 150001, China

© 2013 Zhang et al

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the College of Shipbuilding Engineering, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin 150001, China; Tel: 13895793667; Fax: 0451-825-19733; E-mail:


With the development of exploring and utilizing ocean source, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) which could finish autonomous mission process is paid more and more attention. As an artificial intelligence system, AUV has high independence, reliability and adaptability to ocean environment. An efficient architecture of AUV plays an important role in achieving those properties. A newly developed AUV, “ZT-AUV”, which is used for ocean exploring, is introduced. And its motion control system architecture is described. The architecture is divided into four parts including blackboard system, elementary behavior agent group, reflection behavior agent group and execution agent. The blackboard system is not only information processing and management center, but also agents' behavior control center. As the executable unit of motion controller, elementary behavior agent group makes AUV achieve three kinds of motion including surge, yaw and heave by certain control algorithm. Reflection behavior agent group is the unit by which the behavior of AUV can be achieved in another way, and it works when the system has fault. Execution agent finally drives the actuators of the system. The structures of the four parts mentioned above are discussed respectively. Both the hardware and software are described. Finally, simulation experiments and real experiments are conducted to test the whole system, and the results prove that the system architecture is reliable, flexible and extensible.

Keywords: Autonomous underwater vehicle, ocean exploration, motion control, system architecture, agent.