Fully funded PhD Studentship Vehicle automation requirements for ‘operator-in-the-loop’ and fully autonomous operations in managed transport environments

Increasing automation of vehicle systems is enabling many new opportunities to improve transport safety, mobility and efficiency. With vehicle or infrastructure based sensing systems and distributed computing, autonomous systems are already making an impact on transport, enabling new functionalities on land or in the air. Many challenges concerning sensing, communication and control systems exist but it is often said the greatest barrier to adoption will relate to human factors and legal requirements. Loughborough University has launched a new cross-disciplinary research initiative to bring together all of the key skills and approaches that are needed to support future research studies in the field of autonomous vehicle systems.

Background to the Research

The majority of the key transport systems and networks around the world are now postulating the use of fully automated operations. These systems need to be able to operate with assets of varying technological development, meaning that some would be fully autonomous whilst others would still have an ‘operator-in-the-loop’.

In this context, this project will look at the contrasting requirements for keeping an ‘operator-in-the-loop’ and those of fully autonomous operation for transport systems (both in the technology required and the human systems that need development). Consideration will be given to developing training systems for operators to enable them to combine, reason with and interpret data from multiple sources, grasping higher cognitive skills, such as remote situational awareness of a network in which they operate and high consequence decision-making under extreme uncertainty, including issues such as compliance with appropriate guidelines, legislation and control hand over.

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Potential students must have a first or upper second class academic qualification in a relevant subject or a relevant Masters qualification. The studentship provides a tax free stipend of £13,590 per annum for a period of three years plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions, the studentships are open to UK and EU applicants only. Non UK applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements, details available here: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/international/englang/index.htm, with application forms available at the Apply button below.

When applying please specify “Dr Christopher Ward, Control Systems Group, SEESE” or “Dr Ella-Mae Hubbard, Engineering System of System Group, SEESE” and clearly state the research project topic on the form. For informal enquiries please contact: Dr. Christopher Ward Tel. 01509 227026, c.p.ward@lboro.ac.uk or Dr Ella-Mae Hubbard Tel. 01509 227092, e.hubbard@lboro.ac.uk

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