[robotics-worldwide] [jobs] PhD position: lifelong collaborative human-computer navigation in dynamic environments

Eric Demeester eric.demeester at kuleuven.be
Tue Dec 13 16:26:49 PST 2016

KU Leuven - University of Leuven is seeking an outstanding and highly-motivated candidate for a PhD position on lifelong collaborative human-computer navigation in dynamic environments.

We offer full-time employment as a doctoral student starting 1 January 2017 (or later) for a period of one year with renewal after positive evaluation.

More information and online application tool at:

*** Background ***

Robots are entering our every-day life at home, in public and at work. In the near future, these robots will team up with humans to perform tasks together. This brings up important research challenges such as how to share autonomy between humans and robots in collaborative tasks, how to communicate or estimate each other's intentions and preferences, how to develop informative interfaces, how to inspire mutual trust, etc. For this to happen robustly and in the desired way, various parts of the required knowledge may have to be learned through human-robot interaction, and should be adapted lifelong.

ACRO, part of the University of Leuven's robotics group (Department of Mechanical Engineering), has gained substantial expertise in intention estimation and shared human-computer control for wheelchair driving through various EU projects such as FP7 RADHAR, FP6 Movement, and FP6 Maia. Within this PhD project you will focus on advanced decision making under uncertainty for lifelong shared autonomy. Based on state-of-the-art 3D sensing the robot's local environment will be observed, and intentions of dynamic objects around the robot will be estimated. This information will be combined with the driver's steering signals to provide safe and intuitive navigation assistance. A high Technology Readiness Level will be pursued, supported by in-depth user studies.

*** Institute & research group ***

Technology Campus Diepenbeek, located in the triangle Leuven - Eindhoven - Aachen, is an internationally oriented campus of the University of Leuven providing education, research, and services in the field of Engineering.

This PhD position is embedded within the research group ACRO (Automation Centre research and training):
ACRO's main research focus is on smart human-centered robotics using computer vision. Our research lies at the intersection of autonomous robots, human-robot interaction and decision-making based on uncertain sensors. The group's laboratory is located in the Technology Centre, Diepenbeek, Wetenschapspark 27 at walking distance from the main campus where all didactical tasks will take place. The lab is well equipped with several industrial robots, state-of-the-art sensors and mobile robots. ACRO closely collaborates with the robotics and control groups in Leuven.

*** Profile ***

Minimum requirements:
- master's degree in engineering (mechatronics, robotics, mechanics, computer science or related fields) or equivalent;
- critical attitude and perseverance to participate in research (projects), to write scientific papers and reports and to work towards a PhD degree;
- ability to work independently and pro-actively;
- analytic mind, precise and result-driven;
- enthusiastic, curious and creative;
- eye for detail and practical implementation;
- proficient in English with excellent oral and written communication skills.

Preferred expertise:
Interest or expertise in state estimation, machine learning and decision making is strongly recommended. Proficiency in writing code (C/C++, Python, Matlab, ...) and its implementation on real hardware (debugging) is very much welcomed.

*** How to apply ***

Applications (electronic only) should contain:
- a motivation letter describing research interests and goals,
- a C.V. (please include: your nationality for visa requirements, date of birth, your English level, scientific publications if any, transcripts of records of your BSc. and MSc. degrees (with rankings if available)),
- names and contact information for at least two referees (letters of recommendation can be included to strengthen further the application),
- any relevant information for proving the experience of the candidate and its good fit with the PhD project.

Application deadline: the evaluation of the candidates starts immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

You can apply for this job no later than February 28, 2017 via the online application tool:

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