Ph.D. Position Navigational Integrity for Autonomous Surface Ships for a master’s degree in mathematical statistics, Signal processing at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands 2022


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General Info

Position: PhD
No. of Positions: 1
Research Field: ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
Joining Date: ASAP
Contract Period: 4 Years
Salary: € 2.443,00 - € 3.122,00/month

Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Netherlands


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Qualification Details

[insert requirements from form here, please make sure to make sure that the text below about language requirements is NOT removed]

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.


Responsibilities/Job Description

In this research project, Navigational Integrity for Autonomous Surface Ships, there is a PhD position for four years. Safety expressed in terms of accuracy, availability, continuity and integrity are among the key criteria for all autonomous systems. A big challenge for the future autonomous surface ships technology is to show that an unmanned system is at least as safe as a manned one. This problem includes a few elements such as avoidance of collisions with other ships and obstacles, safe ship navigation, and their real-time monitoring depending on weather conditions such as wave height, wind speed, wind direction and wave period. Integration of a series of on-board sensors and external factors are key elements of safe navigation. Among them the GNSS systems working in different setups such as D-GNSS, SBAS, NRTK, assisted GNSS and signals of opportunity, combined with other sensors such as magnetometer, acoustic, gyro, inertial, radar, laser and optical sensors along with integrated ocean observing systems (IOOS) can provide valuable source of information.

To be prepared for any malfunction of a shipborne positioning system, integrity measures should be developed. Integrity is a measure of trust that can be placed in the correctness of the information supplied by a system. It includes the ability of the navigation system to provide users with timely and valid warnings when the system must not be used for the intended task, or provide timely information to the crew to change the direction of the ship in the hazardous areas when, for example, the weather conditions are bad. The increase in the number of vessels in the world fleet and in the average size of these vessels and their container combined with the complex and crossing traffic patterns such as rapid increase in non-navigation marine users like offshore renewable energy installations require new integrity risk criteria be defined. This becomes even more critical when navigating autonomous ships. New statistical hypothesis testing procedure, introduced as the DIA estimator, opens opportunities to redefine this criteria. This measure can accommodate multiple competing sources of threats and faults in the measurement system, while taking into account the so-far unrecognized impact statistical testing has on the distribution of the estimators of the positioning or monitoring of the ship. The project comprises theoretical development, implementation, simulation and testing of developments in prototype and practice, as well as design and optimization of the statistical testing procedure.

The department has already hired a few PhDs and PostDocs working on similar topics. The focal point of this position is the theoretical foundation of multivariate and distributed statistical testing. Candidates are required to have a strong background in mathematical statistics, signal processing, and integration of different sensors. Candidates are expected to have an MSc degree in a relevant discipline (such as mathematics and statistics, electrical engineering, geodesy, computer science, or satellite navigation), good command of English, as well as excellent analytical and programming skills, and a proven ability to find elegant and creative solutions to challenging problems.


How to Apply?

Application Method: Online Application
Ref. No.: TUD02103

Application Procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 30 April 2022 via the application button and upload:

  • your motivation and please elaborate on your background and expertise in mathematical statistics
  • CV including contact details of two-three references
  • a publication list
  • a transcript of your BSc and MSc (list of courses taken, and grades - in English)
  • a copy of (or link to) your MSc-thesis, as an attachment
  • a statement on English language proficiency

Please note:

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Applying for an exemption for specific research and educational areas is an obligatory part of the selection procedure for this vacancy. This exemption must be obtained from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) before an employment contract is agreed upon. Click here for more information.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.


About the Department/Section/Group

The Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences (CEG) is committed to outstanding international research and education in the field of civil engineering, applied earth sciences, traffic and transport, water technology, and delta technology. Our research feeds into our educational programmes and covers societal challenges such as climate change, energy transition, resource depletion, urbanisation and the availability of clean water, conducted  in close cooperation with a wide range of research institutions. CEG is convinced that Open Science helps to achieve our goals and supports its scientists in integrating Open Science in their research practice. The Faculty of CEG comprises 28 research groups in the following seven departments: Materials Mechanics Management & Design, Engineering Structures, Geoscience and Engineering, Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Transport & Planning, Hydraulic Engineering and Water Management.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.


About the Employer:

Note or Other details

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 € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 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.


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Contact details

For further information about this project and this position, you can contact P.J.G. Teunissen ([email protected]), and/or Dr. A.R. Amiri-Simkooei ([email protected]).

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