PhD scholarship in Multimodal Sensor Fusion for Cyber-resilient Navigation of Autonomous Ships in Confined and Open Waters

Updated: about 2 months ago

DTU Electrical Engineering invites for a 3-year position as PhD student in the Automation and Control Group. In the group, we focus on the development of robust autonomous systems able to perform in the real environment in close collaboration with human beings. Our research effort spans across diverse domains ranging from autonomous transport and precision farming, to condition monitoring and bio-inspired robotics, to name but a few. We push the technological boundaries of autonomous systems carrying out cutting edge research at the interface among control theory, artificial intelligence and system engineering.

The PhD position focuses on cyber-resilience of the navigation systems of future highly automated and autonomous ship. Our objective with this project is to investigate methods and tools within the fields of multimodal sensor fusion, diagnostics, fault-tolerant estimation, machine learning and object tracking to develop a defence in depth architecture for the navigation system. We aim to establish the first cyber-resilient navigation system able to withstand cyber-physical attacks perpetrated against key subsystems such as GNSS, AIS, ECDIS and RADAR.

The PhD project is an integral part of DTU research efforts to develop beyond state-of-the-art technologies towards the demonstration of autonomous ship operations in Danish waters, and it envisages the collaboration with several private and public stakeholders of the Danish maritime landscape.

Responsibilities and tasks
Are you looking for a thrilling research position in a project that will radically innovate the maritime industry? Would you like to develop the next-gen technology for the autonomous ship in close collaboration with industry leaders? We seek for an ambitious team-oriented person, who wish to achieve an international level in the area and will be a team player in both scientific publication and experimental validation of results.

Your research will focus on developing beyond state-of-the-art algorithms for real-time monitoring of the navigation system to detect ongoing cyber-attacks, as well reconfiguration strategies of the navigation system to ensure resilient operations of the autonomous ship in the presence of such cyber-attacks. Your research will be highly multi-disciplinary and cutting-edge results are expected at the interface among state estimation, signal processing, machine learning, change detection and reconfigurable control. An external research stay at an internationally leading institution in the research domain of the project will be part of your research training.

You will be responsible for

  • the development of beyond state-of-the-art fault-tolerant multi-modal sensor fusion algorithms to integrate a wide array of information provisioned by the standard systems part of the shipboard navigation system as well as by unconventional electro-optical systems.
  • the implementation of such algorithms in the autonomous ship software architecture, the testing and verification of expected functionalities
  • the validation of the developed technology through experimental campaigns at sea in collaboration with project partners
  • dissemination of research results through presentations at international conferences, and publication in leading scientific journals

You will contribute to 

  • the development of the overall SW/HW architecture of the first autonomous ship sailing in Danish waters
  • the planning and execution of experimental campaigns aimed at testing the different functionalities of such architecture
  • the supervision of BSc and MSc theses projects falling within the domain areas of your PhD project
  • the creation of a thriving research environment featuring scientific collaboration, mutual respect, and personal ambition
  • the strengthening of the DTU position as international leader on autonomous ship research

You will engage in theoretical research stemming from real life problems, advanced implementation for integration in systems for real life testing on-board vessels, and extensive experimentation to verify and validate the scientific findings.

The research of this project has civilian objectives. However, equipment restricted by export licenses and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is being used in this research. Applicants that are citizens of Denmark, Norway and other NATO countries, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, or Japan are eligible. Other applicants should provide evidence of eligibility to use such equipment for their application to be considered.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Preference will be given to candidates with

  • MSc in Electrical Engineering with majors in automation and control or robotics
  • Profiles with documented competences on one or more of the following research areas: sensor fusion, state estimation, fault diagnosis, object tracking, machine learning
  • Profiles with documented ability to develop software solutions in one or more of the following environments: Python, MATLAB, C/C++

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide .


The assessment of the candidates will be done by Associate Professor Roberto Galeazzi in collaboration with Professor Mogens Blanke. Profiles will be evaluated as applications are submitted.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. The PhD position will preferably start on July 1 2020.

You can read more about
career paths at DTU here .

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Roberto Galeazzi, tel.: +45 4525 3549 or at .

You can read more about DTU Electrical Engineering at , and the Automation and Control Group at .

Please submit your online application no later than 21 May 2019 (23:59 local time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here )
  • List of scientific publications ( If available)
  • One sample publication relevant to the PhD project field of research ( If available)
  • Your ORCID number ( If available)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Electrical Engineering educates students within electrical engineering technologies. We offer studies at BEng, BSc, MSc and PhD levels, and participate in joint international programmes. We conduct state-of-the-art research within antenna and microwave technology, robot technology, power and physical electronics, acoustic environment, electro-acoustics, electric power and energy. Our department has more than 200 members of staff.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.

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