3 Fully Funded Doctoral candidate/Project researcher positions

TOPIC: All-weather drone logistics and long-term drone autonomy

The University of Turku is a world-class multidisciplinary research university which offers interesting challenges and a unique vantage point to national and international research and education.

The positions are related to long-term drone autonomy, secure autonomous docking, and all-weather aerial logistic services. The positions are part of the following two projects:

AeroPolis: Sustainable Aerial Ecosystems for Future Metropolises
R3Swarms: Robust, Resilient and Reconfigurable Swarms

The candidates for the AeroPolis position are expected to work within the following research areas:

▪ Remote identification and secure autonomous docking in adverse weather
▪ Distributed drone state estimation and ground-air coordination
▪ Design of sustainable and autonomous aerial ecosystems for smart cities

In the R3Swarms project, candidates are sought for one of the following research verticals:

▪ Distributed and reconfigurable edge-fog-cloud autonomy stack with ROS 2
▪ Dynamic reallocation and optimization of sensing roles and computational resources in heterogeneous multi-robot systems

The doctoral candidates are expected to pursue a PhD degree while working on the project, as well as supervising Master’s students and supporting teaching activities for advanced courses at the Department of Computing, University of Turku.

The positions for the doctoral candidates/project researchers are fixed-term and the ending depends on the project for which the candidate is selected for: until 31.12.2024 (AeroPolis) or 15.5.2024 (R3Swarms). The work is full-time and will start as soon as possible according to a mutual agreement, even as early as Monday, January 31st, 2022.


What we expect from the candidate:

▪ Independence, collaboration and analytical skills.
▪ Motivation to work in a multinational and interdisciplinary team on multi-robot systems, embedded AI, edge computing and DLTs.
▪ Background in relevant fields, such as mathematics, computer science, physics, computer or mechanical engineering, or another relevant field.
▪ Experience in Python and C++ programming.
▪ Fluent English proficiency.

In addition, we also consider knowledge of the following topics as an advantage:

▪ Deep learning and sensor fusion for robotics and embedded systems
▪ Practical hands-on experience with mobile robots and specifically multirotor drones (building, customizing or maintaining)
▪ Experience with ultra-wideband (UWB) localization
▪ Experience with control systems and optimization algorithms
▪ Knowledge of algorithms for processing 3D lidar, visual and other relevant sensor data.

Candidates with more experience in aerial robotics, sensor fusion and control algorithms are preferred for the AeroPolis project. Knowledge of networked and distributed systems, container technologies and DevOps will be taken into higher consideration for the R3Swarms project.

We expect researchers to jointly carry out interdisciplinary research across the different fields and leverage the opportunities for collaboration within the TIERS group and with external collaborators.

The qualification requirements of the position are stated in the University of Turku Rules of Procedure: https://www.utu.fi/en/university/organisation

A person selected for the post of Doctoral candidate/Project researcher is required to have a higher university degree (MSc or MSc tech degree). The degree must be completed by the end of the application period. If the selected person already has a right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Turku, (s)he must also have an accepted research plan. In addition, when acquiring his or her degree or otherwise, he or she is required to have demonstrated the ability and motivation to undertake postgraduate studies and the capacity to complete a doctoral degree in accordance with the research plan. If the person does not have a right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Turku, (s)he must apply the right from the University of Turku graduate school in Spring 2022.

About the TIERS Research Group

The Turku Intelligent Embedded and Robotic Systems research group (https://tiers.utu.fi) works within the fields of autonomous robots and edge computing, with a focus on developing robust and resilient multi-robot systems to be deployed in real-world conditions. Our research is put in action with a fleet of 50+ micro aerial vehicles, 4 large UAVs (DJI Matrice 300 RTK, DJI S1000) as well as 6 other medium-sized UAVs. These are supported by several ground platforms (Clearpath Husky UGV and others), legged robots (Unitree A1), robotic manipulators (2x Franka Emika Panda cobots) and testing facilities with a motion capture system. Sensors include Ouster OS0-126, OS1-64, Velodyne’s VLP-16, multiple Livox lidars, 20+ Intel Realsense cameras (L515, D435, T265), FLIR Duo Pro R, 1x DJI Zenmuse H20T, 2x ZED 2i cameras and other robotic sensors. Several embedded computational platforms are available, from NVIDIA Jetson (Nano, TX2, NX and AGX) to Intel i7 11th generation, as well as two local GPU servers for large-scale multi-robot simulations and training deep learning and reinforcement learning algorithms, including a Lambda Vector Workstation with AMD Threadripper 3960X (24x3.8GHz cores) and 2x RTX3090 GPUs.

From the algorithmic point of view, our research is in the areas of collaborative autonomy, distributed perception, localization and navigation in GNSS-denied environments and collaborative sensing. Applications include search and rescue, exploration of unstructured and unknown environments and autonomous delivery robots. Within the edge computing domain, we carry out research on lightweight and embedded machine learning, computational offloading orchestration, blockchain and DLT technologies and distribution of computational load in large-scale distributed robotic systems.

Salary and How to Apply

The salary is determined in accordance with the university salary system for teaching and research personnel. For a doctoral candidate/project researcher, the salary will be on the job demands chart on levels 2-4, where the task-specific salary component is 2078,27–2591,28 euros per month. In addition a personal work performance component will be paid. The personal performance component is a 6% - 50% of the task-specific salary component.

A six (6) month trial period applies to all positions.

Applications must be submitted at the latest on Tuesday 25/01/2022 (23:59) using the electronic application form of the University of Turku at the following address: https://www.utu.fi/careers

The link to the application system is at the beginning of this announcement (“Apply for the job”).

Please include with your application:

▪ A motivation letter (1 page),
▪ CV (max. 2 pages),
▪ List of publications (if applicable, Please see the instructions)
▪ Verification of language proficiency (Not mandatory, but IF you already have one please include it in the application. NOTE: for doctoral candidate positions, when applying to the University of Turku graduate school, you must have good English language skills and a certificate that proves those skills. See the list of accepted International English language tests here.)
▪ Copies of degree certificates with translation in English or Finnish (if applicable)
▪ Study transcripts
▪ Contact information for 1-2 referees (name, affiliation, email)
▪ Other documents that may affect the decision-making. For example, information about grants, prizes and recommendation letters that the applicant wishes to present, to indicate the eligibility and merits for the applied position.

For further information about the positions, please contact Associate Professor Tomi Westerlund (tomi.westerlund@utu.fi). Regarding the recruitment process, please contact HR Specialist Nina Reini (nina.reini@utu.fi).