Vehicle and Road Automation

In a bid to increase road safety, and reduce transport related emissions and congestion, vehicle manufacturers are increasing the degree of automation in cars by adding more systems that provide information and support to the driver. These systems are gradually reducing the driver’s involvement in actual operation of the vehicle, and increasing their potential to engage in other tasks such as reading emails, texting etc. As automation penetration increases, it is not currently clear how humans (in and out of the car) will interact with these systems and what the real consequences of vehicle and road automation are. With its world leading motion-based Driving Simulator, the Institute for Transport Studies has been at the forefront of understanding the human factors challenges these systems pose and proposing innovative new solutions. Members of the Safety and Technology group are currently partners in a number of leading projects in this area, including VRA, AdaptIVe and CityMobil2. Whilst fully automated vehicles remain a way off, initiatives such as the Google driverless car have stimulated a new set of research needs relating to the redesign of traffic systems, legal frameworks, business models and environmental performance.

This fellowship opportunity is in a vibrant research market and you will be expected to develop a research profile that will contribute to the University’s ambition to excel at the UK’s next Research Excellence Framework (REF2020), with a sustained record of internationally excellent (and some world-leading) publications and a strong record of presentations at international conferences.  In partnership with colleagues at ITS, you will be encouraged to build research proposals in this field, exploring avenues beyond the human factors of automated vehicles.

You will be able to apply knowledge from Engineering, Computer Science or other relevant disciplines to understand developments in sensor, radar and control technologies and how humans will interact with the next generation of automated vehicles. A key role of the post will be to strengthen the link between the engineering and human factors aspects of this work. You will have (potential) links with industrial organisations relevant to this field and be encouraged to maximise funding opportunities, for example, from Horizon 2020, the TSB and stakeholder organisations. You will also play a key part in bringing together interests in automation research across the University of Leeds, working closely with colleagues from Psychology, the School of Computing and the Faculty of Engineering, with an aim to build critical mass for contribution to a cross disciplinary PhD training programme in automation.  You will also contribute to current and future Masters teaching at ITS and to the recruitment and supervision of doctoral students in the area.

With a PhD in Computer Science, Robotics, Electronic or Mechanical Engineering or related discipline, and an interest in the human element of systems and automation, you will have a strong research record relevant to vehicle and road automation, the ability to teach at Postgraduate level, as well as a clear and compelling vision for personal academic development.

University Grade 8 (£38,511 to £45,954)

For informal enquiries about the role please contact Dr Natasha Merat, tel: +44 (0)113 343 6614, email:   

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