Platooning Control for Heterogeneous Sailboats Based on Constant Time Headway

Christophe Viel, Ulysse Vautier, Jian Wan, Luc Jaulin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses the problem of platooning control for a fleet of heterogeneous sailboats. The platooning maintains a constant time headway (CTH) between sailboats following a circular path, a complex problem for sailboats due to the influence of wind direction. First, the desired acceleration based on the CTH and the sailboat velocity needed to converge to the platooning is defined. Second, a control of sailboat orientation to manage the sailboat acceleration is proposed. The proposed platooning strategy adapts to the specific characteristics of sailboats, which are different from other motorized marine vehicles. Two tack strategies can be used for the method: the first is to regulate the sailboat velocity; the second is to go front of the wind while staying in a short corridor. The desired acceleration for fulfilling the platooning has been derived and validated. The simulation results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach in comparison with an optimal receding horizon control algorithm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2078-2089
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number5
Early online date1 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Platooning
  • autonomous sailboats
  • non-linear control
  • heterogeneous fleet


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