Saturday, July 25, 2015

4 PhD places in vision and robotics in Edinburgh

Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt universities have 4 fully funded 4-year PhD industrial studentships with Schlumberger (oil and gas), RSSB (Rail Safety Board), Costain (Engineering solutions), and UoE (unmanned surface vehicles).

More details are below.

Key Features and Benefits
* Fully funded studentship covering Home/EU tuition fees and stipend (14,057 for 2015/16).
* Access to our world class infrastructure, enhanced through 6.1m EPSRC capital grant ROBOTARIUM.
* Students benefit from supervision by academic experts from both institutions and graduate with a joint PhD from University of Edinburgh and Heriot -Watt University.
* Excellent training opportunities, including masters level courses in year one, supplemented by training in commercial awareness, social challenges and innovation.
* Enterprise funds available to support development of early commercialisation prototypes.
* Starting from: September 2015

Entry and Language Requirements
* Applicants should have, or expect to obtain, a first-class degree in Engineering, Computer Science, or related subjects.
* Non-native English speakers need to provide evidence of a SELT (Secure English Language Test) at CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) Level B2 taken within 2 years of the date of application. The minimum requirement is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent, no individual component can be less than 5.5 in a single sitting. A degree from an English speaking university may also be accepted in some circumstances, but we do not accept TOEFL certificates.

Industrial partners

Schlumberger is the leading supplier of technology, project management, and information solutions for oil and gas companies around the world. Through their well site operations and in their research and engineering facilities, they are working to develop products, services and solutions that optimize
customer performance in a safe and environmentally sound manner.
As automation of drilling processes is developed, operation will be split between completely automated tasks and tasks that are carried out by humans. The project will look at how teams comprising human and robotic actors will collaborate to achieve complex and uncertain tasks in drilling operations. Particular areas of interest include delivery/execution monitoring of collaborative plans; developing/maintaining trust between human and automated parts of the system; multi-modal interfaces for communication and coordination; dynamically changing
activities in response to unexpected events/changes in priorities; and reliable state/event detection and communication mechanisms that prioritise significant events and support effective human decision-making.
To find out more please contact: Professor David Lane (

RSSB is a not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to help members to continuously
improve the level of safety in the rail industry, to drive out unnecessary cost and to
improve business performance. ERTMS (the European Railway Traffic Management System)
and ATO (Automatic Train Operation) are changing the task of driving a train. This is
occurring at a time when automation of transport systems (e.g. automated passenger
pods at Heathrow airport, the Google Car, automated mining trucks etc.) is becoming
increasingly common through the convergence of low cost, high performance sensors,
communications and computing systems and the development of advanced code libraries
for extracting information from sensor data. With these factors in mind, it can be
expected that the way a train driver operates will be influenced by these developments
in order to achieve safer, more efficient and more frequent train services.
To find out more please contact: Professor Ruth Aylett (

Costain is recognised as one of the UK.s leading engineering solutions providers,delivering integrated consulting, project delivery and operations and maintenance services to major blue-chip customers in targeted market sectors. Many repetitive industrial tasks require significant cognitive load which results in operator
fatigue and in turn can become dangerous. The development of robotic sensing technology and compliant feedback technology, will allow semi-autonomous robotics systems to improve this type of work flow. This project aims to explore methods in which a robotic system with shared autonomy can contribute to the operation of a Kinesthetic tool (such as a piece of machinery) and in doing so reduce the cognitive load and fatigue of the human operator. As this is an EPSRC iCASE (industrial CASE) studentship, over the course of the four years, the student will be required to spend at least 3 months at the sponsor's premises. This project is only valid for UK students due to the nature of the funding.
To find out more please contact: Professor Sethu Vijayakumar (

Intention-aware Motion Planning.Project only valid for UK students due to nature of the funding. The goal of this industry sponsored project is to research and extend previous techniques to give a new approach to categorising motion and inferring intent to support robust maritime autonomy decisions in Unmanned Surface Vehicles. Maritime systems have to manage high levels of data sparsity and inhomogeneity to reason effectively in terms of the grammar of motion
adopted by different objects. Elements of topology-based trajectory classification for inferring motion semantics and categorisation, distributed tracking & planning with reactive models, Bayesian reasoning and learning algorithms will be combined and extended for noisy data sampled on large spatiotemporal scales to give high-confidence inference of intent to inform autonomous decisions.

To find out more please contact: Dr Subramanian Ramamoorthy (

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