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PhD position Postural stabilization and motion comfort in automated vehicles

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  • PhD position Postural stabilization and motion comfort in automated vehicles

    PhD position Postural stabilization and motion comfort in automated vehicles

    Predicting motion comfort in automated vehicles.

    Job description

    TU Delft, the Netherlands, invites applications for a PhD student to investigate human postural stabilization in relation to motion perception and motion comfort.

    Automated driving holds great promise to provide safe and sustainable transport. Automation will allow users to take their eyes off the road, freeing up time for work or leisure activities. This will require high comfort levels achieved by smooth driving styles and innovative interiors. A particular concern is “self-driving car sickness”. A range of theories and models associate motion sickness with motion perception and postural stabilization. Due to a multitude of factors existing models fail to predict motion comfort in automated driving. Effects of 3D motion and the modulating role of vision are not sufficiently captured. The relation between motion comfort and postural stabilization sees little empirical support.

    In this direction, the candidate is expected to investigate 3D full body stabilization, unravel its relationship with human motion perception, and capture its impact on motion comfort in automated vehicles in predictive human models. Fundamental scientific questions include:
    1. How is sensory information (visual, vestibular, proprioceptive) integrated and used to stabilize the body of seated vehicle users? Building upon established biomechanical models of neck, lumbar, arm and leg stabilization, a key challenge will be to investigate and model full body stabilization.
    2. How does the engagement in non-driving tasks affect postural stabilization and what is the effect of postural disturbances on task performance?
    3. How can innovative seating systems enhance motion comfort?
    4. Can prediction of human body motion be personalised for anthropometric and other individual characteristics?

    Experimental vehicles and moving base driving simulators will be used to systematically investigate human body motion and perceived comfort as a function of vehicle motion, non-driving task, and seating. Collaboration with other researchers can include: joined experiments, modelling sensory integration of visual and vestibular information, modelling motion sickness, modelling general motion comfort, application of the developed models in the design of innovative control algorithms and interiors for automated vehicles.   


    The candidate shall hold a:
    • MSc in Engineering, Human Movement Sciences, Neuroscience or comparable studies by the start date of the position.
    • Programming experience in Matlab and/or Python or similar
    • Good written and oral communication skills in English

    The following aspects will help you stand out:
    • Knowledge of biomechanical models, human factors, system identification, machine learning, control theory or vehicle dynamics.
    • Prior experimental or simulation experience in motion comfort and human perception studies.

    Applicant(s) are expected to be independent, thrive in multi-disciplinary environment, be self-motivated, and collaborate effectively with members of a larger team. Excellent English skills are required. 

    Keep in mind that this describes the background we imagine would best fit the role. Even if you do not meet all the requirements and feel that you are up for the task, we absolutely want to see your application!   

    Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

    Conditions of employment

    Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

    Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2443 per month in the first year to € 3122 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

    The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

    TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

    Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

    Challenge. Change. Impact!

    Additional information

    You will be supervised by Dr. Georgios Papaioannou and Dr. Ir. Riender Happee. You will work with BSc, MSc, and PhD candidates in the involved research groups in the Congitive and Robotics Department.

    Opportunities for growing your academic career will be available, such as mentoring BSc/MSc Students, conference presentations, networking, and teaching.

    We are looking for candidates that can start from September 2022 (flexible).

    For more information about this position, please contact Georgios Papaioannou e-mail:

    Application procedure

    Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 30 June 2022 via the application on the TU Delft website and upload your:
    • Motivation and CV.
    • Abstract of your MSc thesis and copies of any publications (if applicable).
    • Contact information for up to 2 references
    • List of grades

    A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.

    You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.

    Acquisition in response to this vacancy is not appreciated.