PhD Position Postural stabilization and motion comfort in automated vehicles

PhD Position Postural stabilization and motion comfort in automated vehicles

Published Deadline Location
21 Apr 1 Jul Delft

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Predicting motion comfort in automated vehicles.

Job description

TU Delft, the Netherlands, invites applications for a PhD student to investigate human postural stabilization in relation to motion perception and motion comfort.

Automated driving holds great promise to provide safe and sustainable transport. Automation will allow users to take their eyes off the road, freeing up time for work or leisure activities. This will require high comfort levels achieved by smooth driving styles and innovative interiors. A particular concern is “self-driving car sickness”. A range of theories and models associate motion sickness with motion perception and postural stabilization. Due to a multitude of factors existing models fail to predict motion comfort in automated driving. Effects of 3D motion and the modulating role of vision are not sufficiently captured. The relation between motion comfort and postural stabilization sees little empirical support.

In this direction, the candidate is expected to investigate 3D full body stabilization, unravel its relationship with human motion perception, and capture its impact on motion comfort in automated vehicles in predictive human models. Fundamental scientific questions include:

  1. How is sensory information (visual, vestibular, proprioceptive) integrated and used to stabilize the body of seated vehicle users? Building upon established biomechanical models of neck, lumbar, arm and leg stabilization, a key challenge will be to investigate and model full body stabilization.
  2. How does the engagement in non-driving tasks affect postural stabilization and what is the effect of postural disturbances on task performance?
  3. How can innovative seating systems enhance motion comfort?
  4. Can prediction of human body motion be personalised for anthropometric and other individual characteristics?

Experimental vehicles and moving base driving simulators will be used to systematically investigate human body motion and perceived comfort as a function of vehicle motion, non-driving task, and seating. Collaboration with other researchers can include: joined experiments, modelling sensory integration of visual and vestibular information, modelling motion sickness, modelling general motion comfort, application of the developed models in the design of innovative control algorithms and interiors for automated vehicles.     


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


The candidate shall hold a:

  • MSc in Engineering, Human Movement Sciences, Neuroscience or comparable studies by the start date of the position.
  • Programming experience in Matlab and/or Python or similar
  • Good written and oral communication skills in English

The following aspects will help you stand out:

  • Knowledge of biomechanical models, human factors, system identification, machine learning, control theory or vehicle dynamics.
  • Prior experimental or simulation experience in motion comfort and human perception studies.

Applicant(s) are expected to be independent, thrive in multi-disciplinary environment, be self-motivated, and collaborate effectively with members of a larger team. Excellent English skills are required. 

Keep in mind that this describes the background we imagine would best fit the role. Even if you do not meet all the requirements and feel that you are up for the task, we absolutely want to see your application!   

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 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.


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 and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering

The Faculty of 3mE carries out pioneering research, leading to new fundamental insights and challenging applications in the field of mechanical engineering. From large-scale energy storage, medical instruments, control technology and robotics to smart materials, nanoscale structures and autonomous ships. The foundations and results of this research are reflected in outstanding, contemporary education, inspiring students and PhD candidates to become socially engaged and responsible engineers and scientists. The faculty of 3mE is a dynamic and innovative faculty with an international scope and high-tech lab facilities. Research and education focus on the design, manufacture, application and modification of products, materials, processes and mechanical devices, contributing to the development and growth of a sustainable society, as well as prosperity and welfare.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Do you want to experience working at our faculty? This video will introduce you to some of our researchers and their work.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • €2443—€3122 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD02238


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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