The directional stability of three modern ship types with conventional nonadaptive autopilots is examined. It is shown that while attempting to improve the course-keeping ability of these ships, the potential exists for the operator to unknowingly cause a loss of directional stability with the controls available to him. Stable controller settings are established to prevent such an occurrence. The results of a design method allowing optimization of the autopilot to achieve a desired degree of stability controllability versus steering-induced added resistance is also presented.

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