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PhD Studentship - Modelling resilience in automated transport systems with Human Factors Methods

School of Engineering

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Saturday 31 July 2021
Reference:  1330121DA

Supervisory Team:    Dr. Katherine Plant & Dr. Katie Parnell

 Project description

In the future, autonomous systems are poised to become widely available to assist us with our mobility throughout our day to day lives. Future autonomous robots will effectively maintain the infrastructure of our cities, dependably manage our road traffic to maximise flow and minimise the environmental impact. To realise this future, the resilience of these automated systems to avoid, withstand, recover from, adapt, and evolve to handle uncertainty adversity, and disruption

 The University of Southampton are inviting applications for a fully funded UK/EU PhD studentship in Human Factors of automated systems. The project will focus on resilience within automated transport systems, developing methods to model resilience and enhance their ability to respond to possible disruptions. Methods will be required to understand how automated transport systems meet technical specification as well as how they adhere to social legal, ethical, empathy and cultural rules. These methods will then be assessed on their reliability and validity through testing and simulation. A mixture of virtual reality and transport simulators will be used to develop experiential scenarios and model potential journeys across different modes of transport. 

 This PhD project will sit within a wider EPSRC funded project into Trustworthy Autonomous Systems which will undertake research across a variety of different automated domains with input from Computer Scientists, Engineers, Psychologists, Philosophers, Lawyers, and Mathematicians. The University of Southampton will focus on Transportation but with the opportunity to work collaboratively with other domains, for example emergency response and assistive care.  

 We are seeking a candidate across a broad range of areas who can prove that they can undertake independent research into this new and exciting field. Ideally the candidate will have some previous experience in Human Factors, Psychology, Computer Science and/or Engineering related to automation and/or automated systems. 

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Katie Parnell, Email:

 Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

 Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 July 2021 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

 Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,285 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

 How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2021/22, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD  Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Dr. Katherine Plant  

 Applications should include

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

 For further information please contact: 



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