Openings at CAS

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PhD position in autonomous drone navigation

Opening for: PhD student

Status details

Announced:16 Mar 2020
Closing date:24 Apr 2020
Duration:4 years
Autonomous on-board drone navigation (i.e., without human intervention) in inaccessible environments is a fundamental challenge. The goal in this project is to develop novel machine learning algorithms for autonomous drone navigation in outdoor environments including localization and synchronization for BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) scenarios and/or GPS-denied environments, by utilizing RF signals from fixed ground stations and/or in collaboration with other drones. This includes robust holistic 3D perception through sensor fusion of on-board sensors, for e.g., lidar, radar, camera, and inertial measurement units (IMUs), algorithms for detect and avoid using advanced machine learning for object detection, object classification, and ego-motion estimation. The proposed resource-constrained algorithms will be energy-efficient and robust for in-drone perception, cognition, and control.

About the project The PhD (and Postdoctoral) positions are a part of the recently funded ECSEL-H2020 project named ADACORSA (Airborne data collection on resilient system architectures), with over 50 partners across Europe. Circuits and Systems (CAS) group in the Faculty of EEMCS at TUD is one of the WP leaders (among 8) in this consortium, and will develop ground-breaking algorithms to realize efficient, robust, and data-fusion based cost-effective perception and control for autonomous drones. The overarching goal of this project is to provide technologies to render drones as a safe and efficient component of the mobility mix, with reliable capabilities in extended BVLOS operations.

Opening also at


We are looking for enthusiastic candidates that meet the following requirements.
  • A MSc degree (for PhD) in a relevant area e.g., electrical engineering, computer science or aerospace
  • The successful PhD candidate has a strong background in mathematical modelling and algorithm development in statistical signal processing (and/or machine learning) with applications to navigation, localization, control systems, sensor fusion for e.g., camera, lidar, radar.
  • Strong experience in programming e.g., Python, MATLAB, R
  • Both candidates are pro-active, and combine creativity with a sound academic attitude with good analytical skills
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both in writing and speaking
  • Good team-player, and able to work in a collaborative environment with the other Postdoc, group members, and consortium members in the project.
  • Strong experience in programming e.g., Python, MATLAB, R
When you apply for any of these positions, please annex the following documents in SINGLE PDF with a filename “LastName_GraduationYear.pdf”, where “GradutationYear” is the graduation year of your MS
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Motivation letter (max. 1 page)
  • A detailed list of university courses with grades, and list publications (if any)
  • Full contact information of two references who are acquainted with the applicant's previous academic and/or research/professional activity.


dr. Raj Thilak Rajan

Assistant Professor

Circuits and Systems Group

Department of Microelectronics

Additional information

In The Netherlands, almost all PhD positions are linked to funded research projects. This has several implications:
  • PhD students are employed: they receive a salary rather than a grant. Most projects have a duration of 4 years.
  • Positions become available once a project is funded. This can happen at any time during the year.
  • It typically takes 6 to 9 months for a project proposal to receive funding. In this period, a position may be anticipated but the outcome remains insecure. Once a project is funded, the open position needs to be filled as soon as possible.

If you are interested in our research, it merits to inquire whether openings will be available. We collect resumes of prospective PhD students throughout the year, for each of our research tracks.

General requirements

We make our selection based on the following general requirements:
  • Formal requirements regarding prior education: you should have earned an MSc degree at a recognized institute for higher education.
  • Background: this depends on the specific project.
  • Excellence: your Grade-Point-Average should be above 8 (10). Also your MSc thesis should have received a grade above 8 (10).
  • English: you should be able to communicate well in english (written and oral). Provide TOEFL/IELTS scores if available.
  • Originality: your MSc thesis or later work (publications) should reflect some original ideas. Critical and independent thinking is very important.
  • Team player: you should be able to work well in a team of other project members.
Your resume should contain contact information of prior advisors/supervisors who can provide feedback.