PhD Studentship Smart Autonomous Vehicle for Urban Mobility using Renewable Energy

Number of awards available


Value of award

A non-taxable subsistence allowance of approximately £13,590 per annum pro rata, plus Home/EU fees for a period of 36 months of registration.

The project

The Smart Autonomous Vehicle for Urban Mobility using Renewable Energy (SAVEMORE) project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund’s Interreg IVA Programme, and it represents a major collaboration between the University of Kent and French partner Higher Education institutions. The project aims to address technological barriers inhibiting the uptake of new technological advances addressing issues related to the use of robotic (unmanned) electric light goods vehicles (LGVs – small trucks) aiming to deliver commercial goods to businesses within the restricted urban environments of busy and, in some cases, historic city centres (such as the city centres of Canterbury in the UK, and Rouen in France). To achieve this SAVEMORE aims to model and integrate in to a novel framework existing and new technical solutions such as wireless sensor networks (including GPS and on-board vehicle sensors – e.g. LIDARs, etc.), autonomous robotic car localisation, path planning, and path optimisation, autonomous and semi-autonomous electric energy demand and distribution optimisation, and the provision for efficient secure communications among the related subsystems. The University of Kent will contribute to several areas within the project and the studentships will be associated with the following:

a)  The Kent team will aim to develop algorithms for analysing how a fleet of electric autonomous vehicles for delivery in a city could be used. This will include issues concerning not only technological solutions but also social acceptance and economic aspects (i.e. energy saving and smart grid distribution of electric energy). Using simulation SAVEMORE will demonstrate how large-scale distribution of these vehicles can be considered as part of a ‘smart electric grid’ and how local and national authorities can benefit from it.

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b)   SAVEMORE will, also, aim to demonstrate a proof-of-concept of smart unmanned vehicle able to optimally transport and deliver goods. Such concepts have been successfully tested in industrial logistics (automated guided vehicles, unmanned picking trucks), but, always in well-known and controlled environments. This major objective of the project consists of identifying state-of-the-art solutions to allow safe and optimised autonomous navigation in a realistic urban environment. Integration with off-the-shelf E-vehicles technologies will be tested using simulation and hardware in the loop frameworks. 

The candidates and the studentships 

Candidates should have a first class or good 2.1 honours degree in a relevant branch of engineering, mathematics, or computer science.

An appropriate degree at Masters (MSc) level will be an advantage.

Due to funding restrictions. The studentship will provide full Home/EU level tuition fees for the registration period of 36 months, and a non-taxable subsistence allowance of approximately £13590 per annum pro rata, with a separate budget for IT equipment, software and travel to conferences and project meetings.    

Commencement of Project

The successful applicants must be available to start immediately, or by 15th October 2013 at the latest.

Application procedure  Applicants should apply online at and select the following:

Research topic:  SAVEMORE project

Deadline Monday 16th September 2013

Informal enquiries should be made to Dr Konstantinos Sirlantzis ([email protected])

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