PhD Position Autonomous VIsion tAcTile rObots foR Inspection of Laminated Composites (AVIATOR)

Job title:

PhD Position Autonomous VIsion tAcTile rObots foR Inspection of Laminated Composites (AVIATOR)


Job description

Offer Description

This project “Autonomous VIsion tAcTile rObots foR inspection (AVIATOR)” aims to provide a step change in resolution and speed of visual inspection in large-scale safety critical composite structures such as airplanes by creating novel autonomous UAVs with combined vision and tactile capacities and use of advanced artificial algorithms. Currently, visual inspection is conducted by skilled operators, allowing room for human errors, and health and safety (H&S) concerns. AVIATOR will remove humans from the loop, and increase the productivity, reliability, and resolution of inspection, reducing the costs and downtime associated with inspection, and reducing the H&S risks of difficult to access locations.

We are looking for 3 PhD candidates with complementary expertise in composite materials (PhD1), machine learning (PhD2) and UAV design (PhD3), who will work together on this NWO-OTP funded project.

You (PhD 1) will be based at Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Department 3MD, Section Materials & Environment, in close collaboration with the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering.

In your research, you will focus on generating impact damage for different size and curvature composite samples under various impactor shapes representing real-world conditions. You will develop finite element models that can simulate the development of the in-service meso/micro-structure damage and associated changes of appearance/texture of the structure. You will validate the models by extensive experiments and post-impact characterization of the samples using C-scan and CT scan to assess the damage morphology. You will work in close collaboration with PhD2, PhD3, and our industrial partners, NLR, Mainblades, Gelsight, Space53, to exploit and increase the technology readiness level by validating in the lab and relevant environments, which can be demonstrated in the relevant environment for KLM, NLR and other interested partners.

The research will be performed in the Material health monitoring research group and Structural Integrity & Composites research group. The groups cover the micro-scale (materials) to the macro-scale (integrated structures) research activities, and are well equipped for hosting experimental and computational works, having state-of-the-art manufacturing and mechanical testing facilities, and an extensive range of high-performance computational facilities and required software. Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences.


Specific Requirements

We are looking for ambitious PhD candidates (for PhD 1) with:

  • A MSc degree in a relevant field such as Mechanical, Materials, Aerospace Engineering, etc.
  • Knowledge and interest in composite materials design and characterization, both modelling and experimental skill sets are desirable.
  • The ability to work both in a project team and independently, taking leadership and responsibility for research tasks.
  • Good communication skills in English, both written and oral.

Doing a PhD 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. A minimum IELTS score of 7 or equivalent is mandatory for international students. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

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 .

Additional Information


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 € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 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, TU Delft has the . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

Selection process

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 20 February 2024 via the application button and upload your:

  • A motivation letter specifically addressing our position.
  • Full resume/curriculum vitae including a list of all courses and marks (preferably maximum 2 pages).
  • A one-page summary of your MSc thesis including publication list (if applicable).
  • Two recommendation letters (or alternatively the names and email addresses of two references).

The first selection round consists of screening of your documents and selecting the top 3 candidates. The second round includes an interview with the selection committee.

Please note:

  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • A pre-Employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.

Additional comments

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Mohammad Fotouhi, e-mail: .

For information about the application procedure, please contact .

For PhD3:
PhD 3 will be based at University of Twente, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, Robotics and Mechatronic Department. The department offers 400 square meters of laboratory with different facilities for rapid prototyping and testing, like 8 3D printers, laser cutters, and PCB production facilities. Moreover, there are two indoor flying arenas available, one for the sole use of the department and one accessible through reservation and shared with other departments. Both flying arenas are equipped with motion capture systems. For more information please have a look at and contact Prof. Antonio Franchi ( ). Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)

Number of offers available 1 Company/Institute Delft University of Technology Country Netherlands City Delft Postal Code 2628 CD Street Mekelweg 2 Geofield

Where to apply Website

Contact City

Delft Website


Mekelweg 2 Postal Code

2628 CD


Expected salary

€2770 per month


Delft, Zuid-Holland

Job date

Fri, 26 Jan 2024 05:42:44 GMT

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