For safe ship berthing, all steps involved, from bringing the ship to the fairway area to directing it to the final wharf position at a desirable speed, need to be performed properly. In this article, a support system is proposed to automatically bring the ship into the berth after completing the maneuvering process. This proposed system requires no involvement of a shipmaster, enabling automatic ship berthing in marine practice. Three fuzzy controllers are proposed to conduct different tasks of berthing. The first controller is designed to control the movement of the ship in a longitudinal direction towards the wharf while the second controller stabilizes the relative bearing error with respect to the tugboat. The final controller is responsible for bringing the ship into a wharf according to crabbing motion with bow thruster and tugboat simultaneously. Compared to other approaches, ours has a wider range of adoption, better generalization capability, and is more suitable for marine practice. Comprehensive experiments in numerical simulations are carried out, showing the superior performance of the proposed support system for automatic ship berthing.
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