PhD: Acoustic detection of unmanned aircraft systems supported by optical sensors (ACTION)

PhD: Acoustic detection of unmanned aircraft systems supported by optical sensors (ACTION)

Published Deadline Location
21 Jul 20 Sep Delft

Job description

Description of the project

Consumer drones can pose a serious threat both in the military and civil domain. The capabilities to detect, classify and identify unmanned aircraft (< 20 kg), and subsequently take countermeasures, are, therefore, of key importance, for example, for the Netherlands Armed Forces. In this project, a multi-sensor (acoustic arrays and optics) approach will be developed, complementary to existing detection systems such as radar and RF.


The project will be carried out within the Control and Operations Department of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, together with the Netherlands Defence Academy (NLDA) and the Netherlands Armed Forces.


A large part of the research will consist of developing algorithms for rapid detection, localization and identification of the unmanned aircraft systems based on acoustic array measurements. In addition to the acoustic measurements, also the use of visual and infrared measurements will be investigated. An important component is the collection of data, acquired in dedicated field tests throughout the project, to steer algorithm development and assess their performance. The supervisors will be prof. dr. ir. Mirjam Snellen and prof. dr. Guido de Croon from the Aircraft Noise and Climate Effects section and the Micro Air Vehicle Laboratory, respectively. Additional supervision will be provided by the NLDA. Regular meetings will be held also with the Netherlands Armed Forces.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


What do we ask? 


We are looking for a candidate with an MSc degree in an area such as Aerospace Engineering, applied Mathematics (Signal Processing, Artificial Intelligence), Computer Science, Physics or a similar field. The candidate is expected to be passionate about data analysis methods with an application to real data. Programming experience is required in Python/MATLAB and/or C/C++. A very good command of the English language is required, as well as excellent communication skills. 

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 jaar.

What do we offer? 


TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.


The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Additional information

How to apply?


Interested candidates should submit their application at the following website: by September 19. Include a cover letter along with a detailed curriculum vitae, a separate motivation letter stating why the proposed research topic interests you, electronic links to or copies of a few selected publications (if applicable, the summary of your MSc thesis, your MSc and BSc course programs and the corresponding grades, names and addresses of two to three reference persons, and other information that might be relevant to your application.



  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • €2395—€3061 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD01321


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 20 Sep 2021 1:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).