Automated surveillance/delivery drone design

Eligibility: UK/EU/International graduates with the required entry requirements

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 9th November 2020

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2021

For further details contact: Dr Sam Amiri 


Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for one fully-funded PhD studentship for the project ‘Automated surveillance/delivery drone design’. This is an exciting opportunity in cutting-edge research of hardware/software co-design for a highly motivated candidate to develop an automated drone capable to carry out a range of missions.

About the project

The COVID-19 lockdown proved the need for efficient automated, unmanned devices to promptly perform a range of activities to alleviate the challenges encountered during the pandemic. Some of the required tasks currently performed mainly by human resources are:

  • Surveillance of the quarantined areas for better management;
  • Delivery of some vital low-weight items, e.g. medicine, between stations.

A great solution to facilitate and accelerate these operations is through utilisation of automated drones. Today drone implementation and use is very limited mainly due to technical challenges. An area still demanding research with potential for immediate practicality is the design of drones for pre-determined missions with known flight paths.

The aim of this project is to design and develop an automated drone capable to run several predetermined tasks mainly during the pandemic to alleviate the pressure on human workforce, and post-pandemic to save human resources and costs. The objective is to utilise a network of components including GPS unit, camera, Lidar systems, and in particular a flight control unit to plan a flight, and also to provide for communication with a ground station. The ground station is needed to monitor flight and provide for potential manual control of drone.

Funding details

Full studentship which includes tuition fees and stipend for a doctoral candidate over 3.5 years.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills. All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.
  • A Masters’ degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent professional experience would be desirable.
  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years.
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).
  • Having fundamental knowledge of hardware design, in particular microcontrollers, and preferably accelerated design using FPGA or GPU;
  • Having experience with software development, especially for embedded systems design;
  • Having experience with communication protocols;
  • Preferably having experience of machine learning design.

How to apply

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

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