Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Voglewede, Phil

Second Advisor

Huang, Shuguang

Third Advisor

Fleischmann, Johnathan


This thesis addresses the challenge of commissioning recreational boats with joystick control when the boat’s physical parameters are not known. The research was conducted by following a model-based, systems engineering approach which leveraged MATLAB simulations and scale-model physical testing. The outcome of the research is a working methodology using L1 Adaptive Control which provides fast adaption in a way that could reduce the cost of commissioning recreational boats with joystick control, improve the robustness of the final design, and potentially expand the accessible market to new boat types.