NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering

Department of Engineering Cybernetics, ITK

PhD research fellowship position in "Nonlinear autopilot design for fixed-wing UAVs in extreme conditions"

The position’s field of research/research project

PhD position:Nonlinear autopilot design for fixed-wing UAVs in extreme conditions.


AUTOFLY is a researcher project financed by the IKTPLUSS programme of the Norwegian Research Council. The project is a collaboration between the NTNU Department of Engineering Cybernetics and the Center of Excellence of Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (NTNU-AMOS), and focuses on nonlinear autopilot design for extended flight envelopes and operation of fixed-wing UAVs in extreme conditions. This includes control allocation design based on nonlinear aerodynamic models and actuator saturation, Lyapunov-based attitude, speed and path-following control. The nonlinear controllers will be benchmarked against MPC-based controllers using nonlinear optimization. The main goal of the project is to increase the flight envelop of fixed-wing UAVs such that they can perform more advanced maneuvers and operate in harsh weather conditions.


The PhD candidate will contribute to the project within the following areas:

• Nonlinear control and optimization: Work on a team to develop and tests nonlinear controllers for experimental testing onboard fixed-wing UAV systems using embedded systems and open-source UAV autopilot systems.

• Experimental testing: Participate in field experiments with pilots and other graduate students to validate and benchmark theoretical results.


Qualification requirements

Successful applicants must have a Master degree in automatic control, cybernetics, aerospace engineering, or a similar discipline, with strong skills in one or more areas such as nonlinear control theory, guidance and navigation, vehicle dynamics, aerodynamics, embedded systems and optimization. Applicants are required to justify their candidateship by explicitly explaining their personal motivation and academic aptitude for pursuing a doctoral degree within this research field (general applications will not be considered). Applicants that expect to complete Master degree studies by the end of 2017 can apply.


The successful candidate will be appointed for a period of 3 years, with possible extension to a fourth year if the candidate and department agrees on teaching related duties. At the end of the PhD, a successful candidate, would be trained in the cross-disciplinary areas of guidance, navigation and control, nonlinear control theory as well as optimization and embedded systems. She or he would have published in peer reviewed journals in at least one or more of the fields.


Academic results, publications, relevant specialization, work or research experience, personal qualifications, and motivation will be considered when evaluating the applicants.


The research of this project has civilian objectives. However, equipment restricted by export licenses and ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) is being used in this research area. Applicants that are citizens of Norway, NATO countries, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, or Sweden are eligible. Other applicants should provide evidence of eligibility to use such equipment for their application to be considered.


It is a prerequisite that the PhD scholar applies for and is granted admission to the NTNU PhD studies as soon as possible after employment. NTNUs PhD-rules require a Master degree or equivalent with at least 5 years of studies and an average ECTS grade of A or B within a scale of A-E for passing grades (A best).


Excellent English skills, written and spoken, are required. Applicants from non-European countries where English is not the official language must present an official language test report. The following tests can be used as such documentation: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:

TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test)

IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted)

CAE/CPE: grade B or A.


Formal regulations

Appointments are made in accordance with the regulations in force regarding terms of employment for PhD candidates issued by the Ministry of Education and Research, with relevant parts of the additional guidelines for appointment as a PhD candidate at NTNU.


Applicants must undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme of study during their period of employment. The person who is appointed must comply with the conditions that apply at any time to employees in the public sector. In addition, a contract will be signed regarding the period of employment.


Applicants must be qualified for admission as PhD students at NTNU. See http://www.ime.ntnu.no/forskning/phd for information about PhD studies at NTNU. Together with the application, include a description of the research work that is planned for completion during the period of the grant.


Salary conditions

The position follows code 1017, gross NOK 435 100 – 535 500 per year, depending on qualifications. A deduction of 2% is made as a statutory contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.



The supervisors will be Professors Thor I. Fossen (thor.fossen@ntnu.no) and Tor Arne Johansen (tor.arne.johansen@itk.ntnu.no) at the Department of Engineering Cybernetics, NTNU, Trondheim. The research activity will be associated with the Center of Excellence on Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems (AMOS) at NTNU (https://www.ntnu.edu/amos).



NTNU can offer an informal and friendly workplace with dedicated colleagues, academic challenges and attractive schemes for home loans, insurance and pensions in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.


The Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering wants to attract outstanding and creative candidates who can contribute to our ongoing research activities. We believe that diversity is important to achieve a good, inclusive working environment. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of the gender, disability or cultural background.


Under Section 25 of the Freedom of Information Act, information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have his or her name entered on the list of applicants.


Applicants are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree.


The application with a CV and certified copies of diplomas and certificates must be sent electronically via this page with information about education and relevant experience (all in one combined PDF file).


Mark the application IE 064-2017.


Deadline for applications: 2017-05-29.


Søk stillingen

Om stillingen

  • Søknadsfrist
    29. mai 2017
  • Arbeidsgiver
    NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Nettside
  • Kommune
  • Arbeidssted
  • Jobbnorge-ID
  • Intern-ID
    IE 064-2017
  • Omfang
  • Varighet

Om søknader

  • Søknader for denne stillingen registreres i et elektronisk skjema på jobbnorge.no
  • Du må fylle ut: Standard CV
  • Vennligst opplys i søknaden hvor du først så stillingsutlysningen!

Se mer

Finn andre stillinger