PhD Position Autonomous Aerobatics with Hybrid Drones

PhD Position Autonomous Aerobatics with Hybrid Drones

Published Deadline Location
7 Feb 21 Mar Delft

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In control of micro air vehicles, aerobatics is the ultimate challenge. We want to achieve completely autonomous aerobatics with hybrid drones in real-world conditions. Are you up for the challenge?

Job description

Hybrid drones combine Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) capability with a wing for fast and efficient forward flight. The control of hybrid drones in real world conditions, including wind and gusts is still a challenging problem. Performing aerobatic maneuvers in real-world conditions requires complete control over the vehicle, and will extend the possible applications of hybrid drones. Your job is to develop, build and testfly autonomous aerobatics for hybrid drones!

You will work on:

  • Trajectory planning and tracking algorithms that support extreme maneuvers.
  • Design of flight control algorithms.
  • Navigation system considering extreme maneuvers.
  • Development and improvement of the hybrid drone platform, integrating sensors and actuators.
  • Performing test flights.

You will work at the MAVLab, which is part of the Control & Simulation department of the Aerospace faculty at the TU Delft. The MAVLab is a growing group of enthusiastic researchers with expertise in control, MAV design, and autonomous flight, and a long tradition in the development of novel (hybrid) MAV concepts, like the Delfly, the ATMOV, the Delftacopter and the Nederdrone. In 2019, the MAVLab won the first edition of the prestigious autonomous drone race AlphaPilot. See:


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


This position is perfect for you if you possess knowledge of system modeling and analysis, control engineering, and when you have experience with drones or other types of hardware.

You have autodidactic skills and can independently conduct ground-breaking research. You have a strong research-oriented attitude, good communication skills and the ability to transfer knowledge and effectively present your challenges and results during progress meetings.

You also have:

  • An MSc in systems and control, mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, or a related field.
  • Programming experience in C and MATLAB/Simulink.
  • Excellent command of the English language.

Does this position spark excitement in you? If you cannot tick all the boxes but enthusiastic about drones and aerospace, we’d like to get to know you!

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 € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 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 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 andclose 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, governmentsand 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.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03476


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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