Research Associate in Marine Robotics and Automation at UCL

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About us

The Mechanical Engineering Department at UCL is a large, multi-specialization department. The diversity of its research groups is one of its strengths, leading to numerous interdisciplinary research opportunities. Among the four research groups in the department, the Marine Research Group stands out with world-leading research capacity in marine autonomy/robotics, maritime decarbonization, advanced marine propulsion, and more. MRG at UCL Mechanical Engineering is seeking applications for a postdoctoral research position in Marine Robotics and Automation for our recent EPSRC funded project in advanced marine autonomy.

About the role

This role, funded by EPSRC, aims to develop a new autonomous exploration framework for unmanned surface vehicles (USVs). The objective is for these vehicles to autonomously navigate unknown and confined marine environments, creating comprehensive maps for navigation and conducting demanding missions such as port dredging surveys, berth clearance monitoring, and marine infrastructure maintenance. As a part of this project, your role will involve the development of novel navigational systems. This will include utilizing cutting-edge theories in active learning/exploration, high-dimensional manifolds planning, and addressing uncertainties in calibration and mitigation in uncertain environments. The developed algorithm will be fully integrated and tested on UCL Tamesis, which stands as the first fully-electric, remotely operated survey vessel in any UK port. Collaboration will be a key aspect, as you will closely work with industrial partners such as the Port of London Authority, BMT Group, and academic institutions including the Stevens Institute of Technology and Florida Atlantic University. This post is starting from March 2024, initially for 12 months with the possibility of an extension. For informal discussions about the role, please reach out to Dr. Yuanchang Liu.

About you

The successful candidate for this position is expected to hold a PhD (or about to have) qualification in control/automation, robotics, mechanical/electrical engineering, or another relevant engineering discipline. Ideally, applicants should possess experience in robotics, motion planning, SLAM, and other essential technical knowledge in the field of robotics. Moreover, a strong capacity in robotics hardware implementation and validation is essential. Experience of working with machine learning and statistical tools and techniques is desirable. The ideal candidate should demonstrate expertise conducive to conducting research and publishing innovative findings in esteemed international journals/conferences. Essential attributes for this role include a high level of initiative and the capacity to work both collaboratively and independently. Additionally, strong teamwork skills and a proficient command of the English language are prerequisites for potential applicants.

What we offer

For information about our rewards and benefits please visit

Our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

As London’s Global University, we know diversity fosters creativity and innovation, and we want our community to represent the diversity of the world’s talent. We are committed to equality of opportunity, to being fair and inclusive, and to being a place where we all belong. We therefore particularly encourage applications from candidates who are likely to be underrepresented in UCL’s workforce. These include people from Black, Asian, and ethnic minority backgrounds; disabled people and LGBTQI+ people.

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