Reduced manning requirements, and other cost reducing measures, have spurred interest in automation of engineering plants onboard naval combat vessels. Furthermore, automation adds resiliency to the various engineering plants that operate the ship and decreases response time to system changes, such as battle damage, when compared to the current generation of manually configured plants. Additional cost reductions may be realized by replacing traditional tethered control architectures with wireless telemetry and actuation.

Utilizing such a wireless network, this work develops a model predictive control (MPC) algorithm and implementation which supervises a ship’s thermal load (e.g. air chillers, electric generators, and electrical systems) temperature controllers. Redundant computation and communication capabilities motivates the use of an agent-based controller (ABC) enabled through a peer-to-peer wireless network.

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