Two PhD Studentships in control engineering: next generation of distributed control solutions for cooperative autonomous systems

These two PhD projects will focus on the design, analysis and implementation of novel distributed controllers for the coordination of autonomous systems.

Start date

1 October 2022


3 years

Application deadline

Funding source

University of Surrey and EPSRC

Funding information

  • Full UK tuition fees covered
  • Stipend at UKRI rate increasing annually
  • Laptop and personal computer provided by the department
  • Available conference attendance budget.


The first year of the PhD programme will set the foundations for the project developments. This includes the analysis of the current literature on distributed control systems and their application to cooperative autonomous systems, development and validation of a simulation environment for the application of distributed control algorithms to the coordination of a fleet of autonomous vehicles (e.g., vehicle platooning, swarm of drones, vehicle-drone), benchmarking controllers and relevant post-processing tools.

The second and third years of the PhD activity will focus on the formulation, implementation and simulation of the novel distributed controllers, as well as the analysis of the resulting closed-loop control systems. The novel distributed control strategies will be based on the combination of: a) computationally efficient nonlinear controllers (e.g., model predictive controllers, adaptive controllers); and b) intelligent control / artificial intelligence for the online update of the controller parameters depending on the current operating condition. The potential of the novel controllers will be critically analysed with respect to the benchmarking controllers developed in the first year of the PhD.

The research of this PhD project is expected to generate high-quality journal publications, and to have long-term academic and industrial impact in the specific subject area.

Eligibility criteria

All applicants should have (or expect to obtain) a first-class degree in a relevant engineering discipline (mechanical engineering, automotive engineering, electrical engineering, control systems engineering, mechatronics, aerospace engineering, engineering mathematics) or MSc with Distinction (or 70% average) and a strong interest in pursuing research in this field. Additional experience which is relevant to the area of research is also advantageous, especially a demonstrated capability in model-based control systems and Matlab/Simulink modelling. High motivation, ambition, initiative and enthusiasm are expected, with high quality results to be generated since the first year of the PhD project.

One position is reserved for home students (including students with settled or pre-settled status), while high-calibre international students are eligible for the other one.

If English is not the first language, IELTS 6.5 or above (or equivalent) is required, with no sub-test score less than 6.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted via the Automotive Engineering PhD programme page on the "Apply" tab. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisors on your application. Applications should also be sent to Dr Umberto Montanaro ( Include your CV with qualification details (copies of transcripts and certificates). Shortlisted applicants will be contacted directly to arrange a suitable time for an interview.


Automotive Engineering PhD

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Application deadline

Contact details

Umberto Montanaro
03 AB 01
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 689675

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