Two PhD Scholarships in Autonomous Technology for Navigation

DTU Electrical Eng
Monday 08 Apr 19

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The Automation and Control Group at DTU Department of Electrical Engineering seeks highly qualified motivated candidates for a number of PhD positions. Applicants are invited to apply for a specific project from the list below. Additional information concerning individual project proposals can be obtained from the contact persons listed below. The procedure for applying is also described below.

A total of five PhD projects are part of the
ShippingLab Autonomy Work Package (WP). Two of these vacancies are advertised below. The ShippingLab Autonomy research will be a joint effort between senior faculty with Professor Mogens Blanke as Principal Investigator, experienced developers and navigators from partners, four PostDocs and five PhD candidates.  The Autonomy WP is a joint effort between DTU (Kgs. Lyngby), SIMAC, Wärtsila-Lyngsø Marine, Logimatic Engineering, Danelec Marine, TUCO Marine, DFDS, Danske Færger and a Harbor Bus Operator. The Autonomy WP will provide the research and development necessary to obtain maritime autonomy over a range of levels, from decision support to enhance safety and voyage economy, to a ferry on demand solution that would be able to operate without a navigator on board. 

PhD candidates will participate in measurements, test and validation at sea. Candidates are expected to be dedicated, productive and ambitious team players, who wish to obtain an international level in their area.  Scientific publication and experimental validation of results will be part of all the PhD projects and candidates a will include two or more publications in international scientific journals plus a number of conference papers. Presentation at international conferences will be part of the research training and elements of didactics will be obtained through experience as teaching assistants.

The research of this project has civilian objectives. However, equipment restricted by export licenses and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is being used in this research. Applicants that are citizens of Denmark, Norway and other NATO countries, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, or Japan are eligible. Other applicants should provide evidence of eligibility to use such equipment for their application to be considered.

PhD project 1:  Automatic Classification and Behaviour Prediction of Marine Crafts
This research focuses on the development of methods for classification and estimation of relative location of relevant marine crafts and other objects at sea, and provide a prediction of the behaviour of these objects. The project will employ techniques that can classify objects at sea and thereby obtain knowledge that is relevant for the safe navigation of a vessel with temporarily unattended bridge or with a navigator located remotely. The fusion of information from existing and new on-board sensors, and from electronic sea chart data, should support prediction of behaviours of other vessels based on COLREGS and incremental experience. The project could adopt techniques from machine learning and deterministic/stochastic automata theory to address some of the challenges.

Your qualifications:

  • MSc in robotics or automation and control.
  • Your profile includes image processing, machine learning, estimation, change detection and automatic control
  • Experience in technologies like sensor fusion, computer vision, path prediction and machine learning for information extraction from images will be an advantage
  • Knowledge about marine vehicles, their navigation capabilities and COLREG (traffic rules at sea) will be an advantage

PhD project 2:  Robust Berthing and Harbor Navigation for Autonomous Vessels
The research focus development of the localization of surrounding objects and structures used to bring an autonomous marine vessel safely to quay. This will include detection of shoreline, quay, ships and other objects relevant for safe navigation close to shore and in confined area inside a harbour. A route for the vessels to take given the conditions is also part of the scope. The research should include detection and tracking of objects close to shore, for example using techniques from the fields of machine learning, deep learning and classical image analysis, and fusing these with data streams’ from other sensors, such as short range RADAR and/or LIDAR

Your qualifications:

  • MSc in automation and control or robotics
  • Your profile includes automatic control at high level, image processing, machine learning, change detection and design of dependable systems
  • Experience from implementation of autonomous robot systems, including elements of path prediction, planning and control will be an advantage
  • Experience with extraction of information from electro-optical devices and sensor fusion will be an advantage

Applicable for all PhD scholarships

Applicants must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. Applicants who will obtain such degree by 1 August 2019 can also apply, but they cannot begin before having received the degree.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.  

Assessment of applications will be made by the Principal Investigator together with Faculty from the Autonomy WP. Furthermore, the DTU Human Resources office will participate in interviewing and evaluating candidates.  

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about 
career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information about all PhD projects may be obtained from the Principal Investigator, Professor Mogens Blanke, tel.: +45 4525 3565, mob: +45 2991 0965.

Please submit your online application no later than 22 April 2019 (local time). Evaluation will be ongoing during the application period and all candidates can expect a response within 30 days after the deadline. 

Applications must be submitted as
one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae that describes your professional experience, your profile of interest, the main contribution of scientific publications, if you have published results. Describe also experience that shows your abilities at a personal and professional level.
  • Pdf version(s) of published or submitted papers to relevant Journals and peer reviewed conferences.
  • Grade transcripts and BSc, MSc diploma (both are required if you hold a BSc as well.
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here – in the right hand column)
In the field “Please indicate which position(s) you would like to apply for”, please indicate which project you are applying for (title from the above list of PhD projects or individual research projects).

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All qualified candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The Automation and Control Group at Department of Electrical Engineering at DTU performs research and teaching in automation technology, control theory and autonomous systems. The group has about 35 affiliated researchers and other employees. Please read more about the Automation and Control group on

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.