PhD Positions

PhD Position: CNS requirements for autonomous separation


Job description

The demand for access to very low-level airspace is growing rapidly, as more drones are taking to the sky every day for leisure or professional services (e.g. inspections and data collection, public safety and security, parcel delivery, and urban air mobility). The resulting increased traffic levels and new forms of traffic will introduce combinations of diverse communication technologies (ADS-B, FLARM, LTE/5G), flight and speed patterns, etc., and will therefore lead to unprecedented levels of heterogeneity and complexity, requiring further automation, connectivity, and interoperability.

The expectation that these unmanned flights will, in time, also share the airspace with manned (e.g., GA) flights further stresses the need for a high level of safety, and a good level of awareness of nearby vehicles for all involved actors. As part of your PhD you will work in the EU-funded CERTIFLIGHT project, which aims to develop such services. Your role in this project will be related to separation and collision avoidance methods that will be implemented on limited (on-board) hardware devices.

Next to your work in the CERTIFLIGHT project, your PhD research will also specifically investigate the impact of the performance, accuracy, and availability of such services on the system-level safety, stability, efficiency, and capacity characteristics of autonomous separation. You will publish your results in leading, peer-reviewed journals. These publications will be combined in your final dissertation.

The first thirty months of your PhD will involve working in an international (EU-funded) consortium, which will give you the opportunity to cooperate with major players in drone research and industry and build an extensive network already during your PhD.

You will be working in the Control and Simulation (C&S) section of the faculty of Aerospace Engineering. The C&S section of the faculty of Aerospace Engineering aims to advance the development of autonomous control systems and combined human-machine systems in aerospace, building on a solid theoretical basis and physical insights while exploiting theoretical progress in adjacent fields, and to validate these systems experimentally in world-class facilities, effectively closing the loop between theory and practice.

C&S aims to be a leading research group in the integration, development and testing of new theories on control, autonomous and cognitive systems (with and without human elements).


The PhD position is funded by the Horizon-Europe CERTIFLIGHT project. You will be working in an international consortium, which means that good proficiency in the English language (spoken and written) is required. Furthermore, the position requires an MSc in Aerospace Engineering, Aeronautics or a comparable degree, thorough knowledge of air traffic management, flight operations, as well as excellent programming (Python, C++, …) and mathematical skills. Preferably you also already have experience in writing scientific reports and papers.

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.

To apply, use the following link.

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