Research Associate - Aerial Field Robotics Specialist

Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol (GB)
£32,548 - £36,613
05 May 2018
End of advertisement period
04 Jun 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

We are seeking a highly experienced post doc to help lead and manage case studies that Bristol will lead within this programme.

Applications will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification.

CASCADE believes that a step change in the civil use of aerial robotics (or Unmanned Air Vehicles. UAVs or simply “drones”) will deliver significant societal and economic benefits, such as better knowledge of our environment, more efficient logistics and enhanced support of infrastructure.

Civil aerial robotics will therefore be a significant market in its own right, and one in which the UK can lead through technology advantage and a healthy operating ecosystem for innovation. The CASCADE programme will deliver the research to underpin these advances, tackling the fundamental roadblocks, technical and regulatory, that limit routine use of aerial robots in science and civil applications.

CASCADE further identifies five fundamental research challenges that deliver the needed improvements: greater autonomy implies the reduction in human oversight; higher agility reduces the turnaround time from requirement to mission; better scalability enables the exploitation of increased numbers and operational tempo of aerial robots; more capability means robots that can do harder tasks than the state-of-the-art, in more difficult conditions; and a higher level of safety means more complex operations can be performed without unacceptable risk. These are fundamental challenges that span right across the three basic task types and underpin all future improvements in aerial robotics. Furthermore, it is the interconnections between these challenges that necessitate approaching CASCADE as an integrated programme. For example, greater capability depends in part on increased autonomy, and scalability is a possible route to agility.

You will study these challenges through a number of case studies. Each case study has a clear ‘end-user’ with a science or industry need and will involve extensive field testing. Together, the case studies will enable CASCADE to perform forensic validation of the research developments on the five challenges. The practical field tests will ensure that CASCADE’s low-TRL developments are accompanied by thorough understanding of risk and safety implications. Moreover the results of the trials themselves will be captured formally in the systems design knowledge-base, adding to the research outputs of the programme.

You will be working closely with Professor Arthur Richards and Dr Tom Richardson from the Aerospace Engineering department to develop and operate novel controllers, sensors, control systems and bespoke airborne systems for these challenges. We are looking for a top-class candidate to join the team to enable us to develop and demonstrate a step change in unmanned air systems.

This post is being offered on a full time, open-ended contract with funding up to 31 May 2020.

For informal enquiries, please contact:
Dr Arthur Richards, Email: or Dr Tom Richardson,, Mobile: +44 (0) 7803 012 862.

The University is committed to creating and sustaining a fully inclusive culture. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and communities.

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