PhD Studentship: Wireless Control of Drone Network

University of Bristol - Department of Engineering

The project:

Toshiba and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) are interested in using multiple drones for challenging tasks, such as infrastructure inspection. Multi drone systems can collaborate to complete missions more efficiently and economically as compared to single drone solution.  However, developing such networks open up many challenges that need to be resolved before they can provide effective and reliable services. In the context of infrastructure monitoring, the behaviours of the drones are coupled, through requirements such as communications, connectivity around the structure and collision avoidance. Performance demands are high, since fast turnaround and robust task execution are expected. The project will study the blend of control, communications, and optimization challenges inherent in this problem. 

The project will demand a wide range of skills, most of which you will develop during the programme. The PhD will be based in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (FARSCOPE). You'll benefit from the cohort-based approach of the CDT and be part of a team all learning together. The first year is a mixture of taught courses, group challenge and the Toshiba project. The following years cover more in-depth research as well as extra training and engagement opportunities such as an innovation and entrepreneurship course and STEM outreach projects. The student will also spend time on placement with Toshiba.

How to apply:

To apply for this studentship, submit a PhD application using our online application system.

Applicants should select “PhD in Robotics and Autonomous Systems” as their programme and clearly indicate “Toshiba Drone Network Studentship” as their funding source in the funding section.

Shortlisted candidates will be given a telephone interview with the supervisor and industrial sponsor.  There will also be an opportunity to visit Bristol Robotics Lab for an interview in person if candidates are available.

Candidate requirements: 

We are looking for an enthusiastic student with either a first or high 2:1 honours degree in Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Robotics or any other relevant subject.

Experience in any of the following areas would be an advantage: control, communications, operations research, multi-agent systems, or aerial robotics.


Scholarship covers full UK/EU (EU applicants who have been resident in the UK for 3 years prior to 1st September 2018), PhD tuition fees, and a tax-free stipend at the current RCUK rate (£14,553 in 2017/18; £14,777 in 2018/19) plus an industrial top-up of £2000 per annum (subject to contracts).


Please contact Prof Arthur Richards,

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