Assistant Professor Bio-inspired Autonomous Drones

Assistant Professor Bio-inspired Autonomous Drones

Published Deadline Location
26 Apr 15 Jun Delft

Job description

Drones are flying robots that have an increasing impact in our society. Currently, most drones have a limited form of autonomy, taking care of stabilization and the following of GPS waypoints. There is an increasing number of drones on the market that are also able to avoid obstacles and follow a person to make the best possible selfie or action video. However, the autonomous flight capabilities of drones are still insufficient for many envisaged applications, such as package delivery and search-and-rescue.

The demands on autonomy and hence artificial intelligence of drones will increase, while it is enormously important not to add too much weight and processing, as the energy of drones is a very limiting factor for their flight duration and usefulness. Flying animals, such as birds and flying insects, show that it is possible to perform an impressive suite of intelligent behaviors with light-weight and power-efficient sensing, processing, and actuation.

The proposed position focuses on bio-inspired, autonomous drones. Relevant topics include AI at the edge, deep neural networks, neuromorphic sensing and processing, bio-inspired algorithms, swarming, reinforcement learning, computer vision, or any other topics that are relevant to bio-inspired, autonomous drones. Since intelligence is not only a matter of the mind but also of the body, also topics such as bio-inspired drone design are appreciated, as long as the candidate also has a strong affinity with artificial intelligence or control. The position will involve aiding in current bio-inspired AI-related courses at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, and contributing to additional ones.


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


You will be expected to:

  • Develop courses and conduct teaching at undergraduate and post-graduate levels
  • Perform top-quality research in the area of bio-inspired, autonomous drones
  • Establish and execute an externally funded research programme
  • Interact and collaborate with other researchers and specialists in academia and / or industry
  • Be an inspiring member of our staff and have excellent communication skills


The selected candidate will be employed in the section Control and Simulation (C&S) in the Faculty of Aerospace of Delft University of Technology.

Delft University of Technology is the oldest, largest and most comprehensive university of technology in the Netherlands and an establishment of significant international standing. The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering is one of the largest in the world, with a unique technical infrastructure including an aircraft and wind tunnels. The candidate will be associated to the Micro Air Vehicle lab (MAVLab: This lab brings together knowledge and experience in many fields including MAV flight dynamics and control, aerodynamics, electronics, and artificial intelligence. The lab includes all the machines necessary for going from the design of a novel MAV to its realization, including 3D printers, milling machines, wire cutters, etc. Furthermore, the lab runs the “Cyberzoo” facility, a 10x10x7m motion tracking arena, and has the possibility for outdoor testing in various test locations.

We expect that you have:

  • A PhD degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Control Systems Theory, Robotics, Aerospace Engineering, or a related discipline and preferably a few years of post-doctoral experience
  • Excellent track record in scientific research, as evidenced by publications in academic journals
  • Experience in the acquisition of external funding and an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Ability to work with others in a team
  • Proven ability to provide inspiring teaching in English

It is desired for you to have experience in designing / working with robotic systems, (embedded) programming and software development. 

Conditions of employment

This position is offered as an Academic Career Track position (0.8 – 1.0 FTE). During the Academic Career Track, we expect you to grow towards an Associate Professor position within a maximum of eight years, for which a position will be available. With other Academic Career Track colleagues, you will participate in the Academic Career Track Development programme, where you are offered ample opportunities to develop yourself in the areas of Education, Research, Societal Impact & Innovation, and Leadership & Organisation. You will regularly discuss your development and results with senior staff based on a personalized development and performance criteria agreed upon at the start of your Academic Career Track. You will start with a temporary contract that will be converted to a permanent contract no later than 12 -18 months after a positive evaluation, based on continuous confidence in your development potential and fit in the organisation.

Inspiring, excellent education is our central aim. We expect you to obtain a University Teaching Qualification (UTQ) within three years if you have less than five years of teaching experience. This is provided by the TU Delft UTQ programme as part of the Academic Career Track Development programme.

TU Delft sets high standards for the English competency of the teaching staff. The TU Delft offers training to improve English competency. If you do not speak Dutch, we offer courses to learn the Dutch language within three years.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (. The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged and you can work partly from home.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service addresses the needs of new international employees and those of their partners and families. The Coming to Delft Service offers personalised assistance during the preparation of the relocation, finding housing and schools for children (if applicable). In addition, a Dual Career Programme for partners is offered. The Coming to Delft Service will do their best to help you settle in the Netherlands.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Aerospace Engineering

The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Delft University of Technology is one of the world’s most highly ranked (and most comprehensive) research, education and innovation communities devoted entirely to aerospace engineering. More than 200 science staff, around 270 PhD candidates and close to 3000 BSc and MSc students apply aerospace engineering disciplines to address the global societal challenges that threaten us today, climate change without doubt being the most important. Our focal subjects: sustainable aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence, bio-inspired engineering and smart instruments and systems. Working at the faculty means working together. With partners in other faculties, knowledge institutes, governments and industry, both aerospace and non-aerospace. Working in field labs and innovation hubs on our university campus and beyond. 

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

Additional information

For more information about the position and the recruitment process, please contact


  • Lecturer; Assistant professor; Associate professor; Professor
  • Engineering
  • €3974—€5439 per month
  • Doctorate
  • TUD03872


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 15 June 2023 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

Application procedure

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 15 June 2023 via the application button and upload your motivation and CV.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

Make sure to apply no later than 15 Jun 2023 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).