PhD: Safe Cooperation of Autonomous Vehicles in Mixed Traffic

PhD: Safe Cooperation of Autonomous Vehicles in Mixed Traffic

Published Deadline Location
28 Feb 31 May Delft

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Job description

Autonomous vehicles (such as cars and vessels) will be widespread in our daily lives, aiming at reducing pollution while improving traffic efficiency and safety. The ability of these vehicles to cooperate in planning trajectories is one of the main strengths of this technology. The presence of human-operated vehicles and the occurrence of sensor/actuator faults, however, complicate the vehicle cooperation. Failing to handle these mixed-traffic uncertainties and faults in the motion planning strategy can inevitably compromise the cooperation. The goal of this project (SCoop) is to design a cooperation framework to allow autonomous vehicles to safely navigate in the presence of human-operated vehicles and faults. To design a novel safe cooperation framework, the project will rely on tools for uncertainty estimation/fault diagnosis and distributed motion planning. Experiments on real autonomous surface vessels (ASVs) will demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed design. SCoop is a Cohesion project between the Cognitive Robotics Department and the Maritime and Transport Technology Department.
In this project, you as a PhD candidate will investigate how to design a motion planner for an autonomous vehicle that: (1) deals with mixed-traffic uncertainties and faults to avoid collisions and deadlocks by discriminating between local and propagated faults; (2) estimates these uncertainties and faults in the local motion planning; (3) combines the design of the undertainty estimation, fault detection and isolation and local motion planning. The multi-vehicle coordination methods that will be developed in this project will be tested and verified through their application to autonomous vessels in the ResearchLab Autonomous Shipping (RAS).


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The candidate has a very good MSc degree in Systems and Control, Electrical/Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mathematics, or a related field. The candidate must have strong analytical skills and must be able to work at the intersection of several research domains. Good programming skills and experience with MATLAB and ROS are of foremost importance to implement the proposed designs on real ASVs. A very good command of the English language is required, as well as excellent communication skills. Candidates having exhibited their ability to perform research in control, optimization, system identification, and/or robotics are especially encouraged to apply.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.


Technische Universiteit Delft

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is a multifaceted institution offering education and carrying out research in the technical sciences at an internationally recognised level. Education, research and design are strongly oriented towards applicability. TU Delft develops technologies for future generations, focusing on sustainability, safety and economic vitality. At TU Delft you will work in an environment where technical sciences and society converge. TU Delft comprises eight faculties, unique laboratories, research institutes and schools.


Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3mE) trains committed engineering students, PhD candidates and post-doctoral researchers in groundbreaking scientific research in the fields of mechanical, maritime and materials engineering. 3mE is the epitome of a dynamic, innovative faculty, with a European scope that contributes demonstrable economic and social benefits.
The main focus of the Cognitive Robotics department is the development of intelligent robots and vehicles that will advance mobility, productivity and quality of life. Our mission is to bring robotic solutions to human-inhabited environments, focusing on research in the areas of machine perception, motion planning and control, machine learning, automatic control and physical interaction of intelligent machines with humans. We combine fundamental research with work on physical demonstrators in areas such as self-driving vehicles, collaborative industrial robots, mobile manipulators and haptic interfaces. Strong collaborations exist with cross-faculty institutes TU Delft Robotics Institute and TU Delft Transport Institute), our national robotic ecosystem (RoboValley, Holland Robotics) and international industry and academia.
The Department of Maritime and Transport Technology (M&TT) studies how to develop, design, build and operate marine, dredging and transport systems and their equipment. New generation transport and marine systems require the further development of the knowledge of the dynamics and the physical processes involved in transport, dredging and marine systems, the logistics of the systems and the interaction between the equipment and control systems.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • 3mE20-15


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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