As a class of typical representatives for conveyance, shipboard crane systems are usually fixed on ship decks to transport cargoes on the sea, which is greatly different from land-fixed cranes. Due to some disturbances induced by sea waves, payload positions are always difficult to control precisely. In addition, unless equipped with velocity sensors, it would be difficult to obtain velocity signals for feedback control, by noting that the traditional way of numerical differentiation operations (to recover velocities from positions/angles) may induce extra noises in practice. In this paper, we propose an observer-based dynamic feedback control method to deal with the foregoing issues. Specifically, both boom/rope positioning and payload swing elimination can be achieved simultaneously by utilizing only measurable displacement/angle feedback signals. Moreover, as far as we know, this paper gives the first input-saturated control method including nonlinear coupling terms to realize the objective of effective positioning and swing suppression without the requirement of velocity feedback, which is developed on the basis of the complicated nonlinear shipboard crane dynamics with no linearization operations during controller design or stability analysis. Meanwhile, the corresponding velocity signals are accurately recovered online by means of the suggested observer. In addition, the amplitudes of the control inputs can be guaranteed within the allowable ranges to avoid falling into saturation. The asymptotic stability for the equilibrium point of the crane system in closed loop with the controller and the observer is proven by rigorous analysis with Lyapunov techniques and LaSalle's invariance theorem. After a series of hardware experiments, we validate the effectiveness and robustness of the presented controller.
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