Vehicle dynamics controllers and observers for all-terrain driving applications

The project will explore novel strategies to control the longitudinal and lateral dynamics of vehicles suitable for both on-road and off-road conditions, with specific focus on the latter.

Start date

1 October 2022


3 years

Application deadline

Funding source

School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences (EPSRC DTA/DTG)

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 project aims at exploring novel strategies to control the longitudinal and lateral dynamics of vehicles suitable for both on-road and off-road conditions, with a specific focus on the latter. The control is performed by means of next-generation actuators (e.g., electric in-wheel motors, active suspensions, brake-by-wire, etc.). Typical examples of control strategies are traction control, anti-lock braking system, torque vectoring control, etc. When dedicated vehicle sensors are too expensive (for mass production), relevant information needs to be estimated based on the knowledge of 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 off-road electric vehicle 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 tested on real-time automotive electronic computing units (i.e., dSPACE MicroAutobox) and, when possible, on vehicle demonstrators. The challenge is to design strategies that will be reliable and high-performing for different harsh road 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 and Prof Patrick Gruber at the Centre for Automotive Engineering.

Related links

Centre for Automotive Engineering

Eligibility criteria

Open to any UK or international candidates. You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our PhD programme.

All applicants should have (or expect to obtain) a minimum of a 2:1 degree (first-class degree essential for international students) in a relevant engineering discipline (mechanical engineering, automotive engineering, electrical engineering, control systems engineering, mechatronics, aerospace engineering) 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 desirable, especially a demonstrated knowledge in vehicle dynamics and in model-based control systems, and Matlab/Simulink modelling. High motivation, ambition, initiative and enthusiasm are expected, with high-quality results to be generated from the first year of the PhD.

How to apply

Applications should be made through the Automotive Engineering PhD course page. In place of a research proposal you should upload a document stating the title of the project that you wish to apply for and the name of the relevant supervisor.

Automotive Engineering PhD

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Application deadline

Contact details

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

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