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Autonomous Guidance and Navigation Based on the COLREGs Rules and Regulations of Collision Avoidance

Autonomous Guidance and Navigation Based on the COLREGs Rules and Regulations of Collision Avoidance

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Published by LP Perera
Autonomous Guidance and Navigation (AGN) is meant to be an important part of the future
ocean navigation due to the associated navigational cost reduction and maritime safety. Furthermore intelligent
decision making capabilities should be an integrated part of the future AGN system in order to improve
autonomous ocean navigational facilities. This paper is focused on an overview of the AGN systems with respect
to the collision avoidance in ocean navigation. In addition, a case study of a fuzzy logic based decision
making process accordance with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Convention on the International
Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) has been illustrated.
Autonomous Guidance and Navigation (AGN) is meant to be an important part of the future
ocean navigation due to the associated navigational cost reduction and maritime safety. Furthermore intelligent
decision making capabilities should be an integrated part of the future AGN system in order to improve
autonomous ocean navigational facilities. This paper is focused on an overview of the AGN systems with respect
to the collision avoidance in ocean navigation. In addition, a case study of a fuzzy logic based decision
making process accordance with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Convention on the International
Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) has been illustrated.

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Published by: LP Perera on Jun 22, 2010
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Advanced Ship Design for Pollution Prevention, C. Guedes Soares and J. Parunov (Eds.), Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK, 2010, ISBN 978-0-415-58477-7,pp 205-216. (In Proc. Of the International Workshop “Advanced Ship Design for Pollution Prevention”, Split, Croatia, Nov. 23-24, 2009)
1
 
INTRODUCTION1.1
 
 Autonomous guidance and navigation
”Automatic steering is a most valuable invention if properly used. It can lead to disaster when it is left tolook after itself while vigilance is relaxed. It is onmen that safety at sea depends and they cannot makea greater mistake than to suppose ...”The statement was made by the Justice Cairns withrespect to a collision that had occurred due to thefault in the automatic pilot system when the Britishcargo ship ”Trentbank” was overtaking the Portu-guese tanker ”Fogo”’ in the Mediterranean in Sep-tember 1964 (Cockcroft and Lameijer (2001)). Theverdict not just shows the importance of the AGNsystems in ocean navigations but also of the humanvigilance of its capabilities and requirements for fur-ther developments.The automatic pilot systems are primary level de-velopments units of the Autonomous Guidance andNavigation (AGN) Systems and their applicationshave been in the dreams of ship designers in severaldecades. The development of computer technology,satellite communication systems, and electronic de-vices, including high-tech sensors and actuators,have turned these dreams into a possible realitywhen designing the next generation ocean AGN sys-tems.The initial step of the AGN system, which madethe foundation for applied control engineering, wasformulated around 1860 to 1930 with the inventionof the first automatic ship steering mechanism bySperry (1922). Sperry’s work was based on replica-tion of the actions of an experienced helmsman thatwas formulated as a single input single output sys-tem (SISO).Similarly, the research work done by Minorski(1922) is also regarded as the key contribution to thedevelopment of AGN Systems. His initial work wasbased on the theoretical analysis of automated shipsteering system with respect to a second order shipdynamic model. The experiments were carried outby Minorski on New Mexico in cooperation with theUS Navy in 1923 and reported in 1930 (Bennett,1984).Hence both works done by Sperry and by Minor-ski are considered as the replication of non-linearbehavior of an experienced helmsman (Roberts et al.(2003)) in ocean navigation. From Sperry’s time topresent, much research has been done and consider-able amount of literature has been published onAGN systems with respect to the areas of marinevessel dynamics, navigation path generations, andcontroller applications, environmental disturbancerejections and collision avoidance conditions.The functionalities of the Multipurpose Guidance,Navigation and Control (GNC) systems are summa-rized by Fossen (1999) on a paper that focuses notonly on course-keeping and course-changing maneu-vers (Conventional auto pilot system) but also inte-gration of digital data (Digital charts and weatherdata), dynamic position and automated docking sys-tems.
Autonomous guidance and navigation based on the COLREGs rules andregulations of collision avoidance.
L. P. Perera
Centre for Marine Technology and Engineering (CENTEC), Technical University of Lisbon, Instituto Superior Tecnico, Lisbon, Portugal
J. P. Carvalho
 INESC-ID, Technical University of Lisbon, Instituto Superior Tecnico, Lisbon, Portugal
C. Guedes Soares
Centre for Marine Technology and Engineering (CENTEC), Technical University of Lisbon, Instituto Superior Tecnico, Lisbon, Portugal
ABSTRACT: Autonomous Guidance and Navigation (AGN) is meant to be an important part of the futureocean navigation due to the associated navigational cost reduction and maritime safety. Furthermore intelli-gent decision making capabilities should be an integrated part of the future AGN system in order to improveautonomous ocean navigational facilities. This paper is focused on an overview of the AGN systems with re-spect to the collision avoidance in ocean navigation. In addition, a case study of a fuzzy logic based decisionmaking process accordance with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Convention on the Interna-tional Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) has been illustrated.
 
 
Figure 1: Autonomous Guidance and Navigation System.
Recent developments of design, analysis and con-trol of AGN systems are also summarized by Ohtsu(1999), and several ocean applications of AGN sys-tems have been further studied theoretically as wellas experimentally by (Moreira et al., (2007); Healeyand Lienard, (1993); Do and Pan, (2006)). This areais bound to become increasingly important in the fu-ture of ocean navigation due to the associated costreduction and maritime safety.The block diagram of main functionalities of aAGN system integrated with collision avoidance fa-cilities is presented in Fig. 1. The AGN system con-tains four units of Collisions Avoidance Conditions(CAC), Control System(CS), Filters and Sensors.The sensor unit consists of sensors that could meas-ure course and speed characteristics of the vesselnavigation. The filter unit is formulated for filter-outnoisy signals. The output of the Filter unit will befeedback into the CAC unit as well as the CS unit.The sensor signals will be used by the CS unit tocontrol overall vessel navigation of the vessel andused by the CAC unit to make decisions on colli-sions avoidance process.1.2
 
Collision avoidance
Having an intelligent decision making process is animportant part of the future AGN systems in oceannavigation. However, conventional ocean naviga-tional systems consist of human guidance, and as aresult, 75-96 % of marine accidents and causalitiesare caused by some types of human errors(Rothblum et al. (2002); Antão and Guedes Soares2008). Since most of the wrong judgments andwrong operations of humans at the ocean ended inhuman casualties and environmental disasters, limit-ing human subjective factors in ocean navigation andreplacing them by an intelligent Decision Making(DM) system for navigation and collision avoidancecould reduce maritime accidents and its respectivecausalities. However development of collisionavoidance capabilities into the next generation AGNsystems in ocean navigation is still in the hands of future researchers and this part of the intelligentAGN systems has been characterized as e-Navigation (eNAV (2008)).The terminology used in recent literature regard-ing the collision avoidance conditions designates thevessel with the AGN system as the ”Own vessel”,and the vessel that needs to be avoided as the ”Tar-get vessel”. With respect to the Convention on theInternational Regulations for Preventing Collisionsat Sea (COLREGs) rules and regulations, the vesselcoming from the starboard side has higher priorityfor the navigation and is called the ”Stand on” vesseland the vessel coming from the port side has lowerpriority and is called the ”Give way” vessel. Thesedefinitions have been considered during the formula-tion of collision situations in this work.The decision making process and strategies in in-teraction situations in ocean navigation, includingcollision avoidance situations, are presented byChauvin and Lardjane (2008). The analysis of quan-titative data describing the manoeuvres undertakenby ferries and cargo-ships and behaviour of the”Give way” and the ”Stand on” vessels with respectto verbal reports recorded on board a car-ferry in theDover Strait are also presented in the same work.The detection of the Target vessel position and ve-locity are two important factors assessing the colli-sion risk in ocean navigation as illustrated in recentliterature. Sato and Ishii (1998) proposed combiningradar and infrared imaging to detect the Target ves-sel conditions as part of a collision avoidance sys-tem. The collision risk has been presented with re-spect to the course of the Target vessel and imageprocessing based course measurement method pro-posed in the same work.The vessel domain could be defined as the areabounded for dynamics of the marine vessel and thesize and the shape of the vessel domain are otherimportant factors assessing the collision risk inocean navigation. Lisowski et al. (2000) used neural-classifiers to support the navigator in the process of determining the vessel’s domain, defining that thearea around the vessel should be free from stationaryor moving obstacles. On a similar approach,Pietrzykowski and Uriasz (2009) proposed the no-tion of vessel domain in a collision situation as de-pending on parameters like vessel size, course andheading angle of the encountered vessels. Fuzzylogic based domain determination system has beenfurther considered in the same work.Kwik (1989) presented the calculations of two-ship collision encounter based on the kinematics anddynamics of the marine vessels. The analysis of col-lision avoidance situation is illustrated regarding thevessel velocity, turning rate and direction, and de-sired passing distance in the same work. Yavin et al.(1995) considered the collision avoidance conditionsof a ship moving from one point to another in a nar-row zig-zag channel and a computational open loopcommand strategy for the rudder control system as-sociated with the numerical differential equationsolver is proposed. However, the dynamic solutionsbased on differential equations could face implemen-tation difficulties in real-time environment.The design of a safe ship trajectory is an importantpart of the collision avoidance process and has usu-ally been simulated by mathematical models based
 
Advanced Ship Design for Pollution Prevention, C. Guedes Soares and J. Parunov (Eds.), Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK, 2010, ISBN 978-0-415-58477-7,pp 205-216. (In Proc. Of the International Workshop “Advanced Ship Design for Pollution Prevention”, Split, Croatia, Nov. 23-24, 2009)
on manoeuvring theory (Sutulo et al. 2002). An al-ternative approach based on neural networks has alsobeen proposed by Moreira and Guedes Soares(2003). Optimization of a safe ship trajectory in col-lision situations by an evolutionary algorithm is pre-sented by Smierzchalski and Michalewicz (2000),where comparison of computational time for trajec-tory generation with respect to other manoeuvringalgorithms, and static and dynamic constrains for theoptimization process of the safe trajectories are alsoillustrated. However, the optimization algorithmsalways find the solution for the safe trajectory basedon assumptions; hence the optimum solutions maynot be realistic and may not have intelligent features.As an example, it is observed that some of the opti-mization algorithms always find the safest path be-hind the Target vessel and that may lead to a conflictsituation with the COLREGs rules and regulations.1.3
 
The COLREGs
It is a fact that the COLREGs rules and regulationsregarding collision situations in ocean navigationhave been ignored in most of the optimization algo-rithms. The negligence of the IMO rules may lead toconflicts during ocean navigation. As for the re-ported data of the maritime accidents, 56% of themajor maritime collisions include violation of theCOLREGS rule and regulations (Statheros et al.(2008)). Therefore the methods proposed by the lit-erature ignoring the COLREGs rules and regulationsshould not be implemented in ocean navigation. Onthe other hand, there are some practical issues onimplementation of the COLREGs rules and regula-tions during ocean navigation. Consider the crossingsituations where the Own vessel is in ”Give way”situations in Figures 4, 5, 6, and 7 and in ”Stand on”situations in Figures 9, 10, 11 and 12, there are ve-locity constrains in implementing COLREGs rulesand regulations of the ”Give way” and the ”Standon” vessels collision situations when the Target ves-sel has very low or very high speed compared to theOwn vessel.In the collision avoidance approach of repulsiveforce based optimization algorithms proposed byXue et al. (2009), the Own vessel is kept away fromthe obstacles by a repulsive force field. However thisapproach may lead to conflict situations when themoving obstacles present a very low speed or veryhigh speed when compared to the Own vessel speed.In addition, complex orientations of obstacles maylead to unavoidable collision situations. On the otherhand, repulsive force based optimization algorithmsare enforced to find the global safe trajectory forOwn vessel navigation, and this might not be a goodsolution for the localized trajectory search. In addi-tion the concepts of the ”Give way” and the ”Standon” vessels that are derived on COLREGs rules andregulations during the repulsive force based optimi-zation process are not taken into consideration andtherefore may not be honoured.The intelligent control strategies implemented oncollision avoidance systems could be categorized asAutomata, Hybrid systems, Petri nets, Neural net-works, Evolutionary algorithms and Fuzzy logic.These techniques are popular among the machinelearning researchers due to their intelligent learningcapabilities. The soft-computing based Artificial In-telligence (AI) techniques, evolutionary algorithms,fuzzy logic, expert systems and neural networks andcombination of them (hybrid expert system), for col-lision avoidance in ocean navigation are summarizedby Statheros et al. (2008).Ito et al. (1999) used genetic algorithms to searchfor safe trajectories on collision situations in oceannavigation. The approach is implemented in thetraining vessel of ”Shioji-maru” integrating Auto-matic Radar Plotting Aids (ARPA) and DifferentialGlobal Position System (DGPS). ARPA system data,which could be formulated as a stochastic predictor,is designed such that the probability density map of the existence of obstacles is derived from theMarkov process model before collision situations aspresented by Zeng et al. (2001) in the same experi-mental setup. Further, Hong et al. (1999) have pre-sented the collision free trajectory navigation basedon a recursive algorithm that is formulated by ana-lytical geometry and convex set theory. Similarly,Cheng et al. (2006) have presented trajectory optimi-zation for ship collision avoidance based on geneticalgorithms.Liu and Liu (2006) used Case Based Reasoning(CBR) to illustrate the learning of collision avoid-ance in ocean navigation by previous recorded dataof collision situations. In addition, a collision risk evaluation system based on a data fusion method isconsidered and fuzzy membership functions forevaluating the degree of risk are also proposed. Fur-ther intelligent anti-collision algorithm for differentcollision conditions has been designed and tested onthe computer based simulation platform by Yang etal. (2007) Zhuo and Hearn (2008) presented a studyof collision avoidance situation using a self learningneuro-fuzzy network based on an off-line trainingscheme and the study is based on two vessel colli-sion situation. Sugeno type Fuzzy Inference System(FIS) was proposed for the decision making processof the collision avoidance.1.4
 
Fuzzy-logic based systems
Fuzzy-logic based systems, which are formulated forhuman type thinking, facilitate a human friendly en-vironment during the decision making process.Hence several decision making systems in researchas well as commercial applications have been pre-sented before (Hardy (1995)). The conjunction of human behavior and decision making process was

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