Vehicle dynamics controllers and observers for all-terrain driving applications

The project will explore novel strategies to control the longitudinal and lateral dynamics of a vehicle (e.g. traction control, anti-lock braking system, torque vectoring control, etc.) by means of last generation actuators (e.g., electric in-wheel motors, active suspensions, brake-by-wire etc.)

3 years
Application deadline
Funding source
University of Surrey – School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences
Funding information

The student will receive a yearly stipend of £15000. Additional funding is available for equipment and participation in International conferences.


When the sensors to collect information from the vehicle are too expensive for mass production, the quantities need to be estimated based on the knowledge of the relevant vehicle dynamics. In particular control/estimation techniques based on linear and nonlinear vehicle models will be explored.

The deliverable of the project will consist of novel state-of-the-art algorithms ready to be implemented on next generation electric vehicles prototypes. The algorithms will be initially developed in Matlab/Simulink and Maple, and assessed using the software IPG CarMaker. The latter is the standard high fidelity vehicle dynamics simulation tool of the major European car manufacturers. Finally, the algorithms are all tested on real-time automotive electronic computing units (i.e., dSPACE MicroAutobox) and, when possible, on vehicle demonstrators that are often available within our research group.

The challenge is to design strategies that will be reliable and robust not only on dry and wet asphalt (as they are commonly assessed) but for different conditions, including soft snow and various off-road terrains.

The project will be coordinated by Dr Davide Tavernini and co-supervised by Prof Aldo Sorniotti. A second co-supervisor will be selected in due course.

Whenever possible the control and estimation strategies will be implemented on our new fully-electric autonomous vehicle platform ZEBRA, to assess the real-time capability and initial performance of the algorithms.

Related links
Centre for Automotive Engineering

Eligibility criteria

Open to UK and EU applicants only.

You will need a 2:1 degree level or higher in a relevant subject area.

IELTS: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6.0 in each individual category.


How to apply

Applications should be made through the Automotive Engineering PhD course page. Please clearly state the studentship title on your application.

Applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Davide Tavernini via email sending their CV and cover letters prior to applying.

Automotive Engineering PhD

Contact details

Davide Tavernini
16 AA 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 683729

Centre for Automotive Engineering

Within our group we run a series of research projects that are funded either by industrial partners or public funding agencies.

Although this PhD project is independent from the other ongoing projects, interaction between them is sought as it often opens up vehicle testing opportunities and contacts with the industrial partners, with enhancement of the project outcomes on both sides.


Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.