Funded PhD studenship opportunity: An intelligent integrated marine observation system description: The aim of this Plymouth University funded PhD studentship is to develop an intelligent integrated marine observation system on the basis of the existing unmanned surface vehicle named Springer and the four rotor quadcopter from Autonomous Marine Systems (AMS) Research Group in the School of Marine Science and Engineering.

Springer is a mobile, rapidly sampling, remotely and autonomously operated sensor platform for various hydrological surveys, real-time mapping of pollutant spills, tracking and qualification of pollutant spills. Its novel navigation technology significantly improves user control for physical oceanographic deployments. The four rotor quadcopter has a flying time of 30 minutes and it is equipped with a wide-angled HD camera. The addition of the quadcopter into Springer would provide the user the ability to identify key areas (e.g. the centre and perimeter of a sediment discharge plume) where Springer needs to be deployed, thus optimising the data collection phase and significantly improving survey efficiency.

The project aims to integrate fully these two autonomous systems to form an intelligent marine observation system for more efficient and intelligent conducting of surveying tasks. Therefore innovative multi-sensor-data-fusion techniques are to be developed to combine data from multiple types of multiple sensors from multiple perspectives to improve the situational awareness of the environment, to increase the probability of detecting hazards or features and to offer redundancy. Furthermore, an energy-based control system is also to be designed to guide the integrated system to determine cost effective paths which will be both safe and still leading to the waypoints, and directs the quadcopter to follow the best path. The integrated system will also be tested for its situational awareness, autonomy and efficiency under different operating conditions and hostile marine environments.

The student will be a member of AMS Research Group and also work closely with Dr Andrew Manning from Marine Physics Research Group on sensors for measurements and survey data analysis issues. AMS is a group of nine academics and four researchers with complementary and diverse experience and skills in Mechanical, Marine and Robotics. AMS has an international reputation for its involvement in the design and development of uninhabited marine robotic (UMR) systems for surface and underwater applications. Dr Andrew Manning has eighteen years of international research experience in cohesive sediment transport and flocculation processes in coastal and inland waterways.


Applicant should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification.

The studentship is supported for three years and includes full home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £14,057 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees will have to cover the difference between the home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £10,800 per annum).

Location: Plymouth, UK

The closing date for applications is 17:00 on 15 September 2015.

Read more and apply here.

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