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University of Leeds Featured PhD Programmes
FindA University Ltd Featured PhD Programmes

Bio-informed aerodynamic sensing for state estimation in agile UAS

The Royal Veterinary College

About the Project

- Project Summary -
Most animals fly by flapping their wings. As they do, aerodynamic forces propel them through the air. While airborne, the control of body attitude is an essential task that requires rapid perception of a highly dynamic situation. Fortunately, evolution has furnished flying animals with an array of sensors that give continual information streams in different formats and at different rates. This information must be processed by the flight controller to assess the current state and make fine scale changes to the wing motion to maintain or adjust the flight trajectory. In this project, we will investigate how flow sensors on insect wings can encode information about the aerodynamic loading their wings are experiencing with minimal processing power.

- Must meet our standard PhD entry requirements:
- Open to graduates with backgrounds in Engineering (mechanical / aeronautical / systems) / Computer Sciences / Robotics / Maths / Physics / Other.
- Inquisitive mind willing to work on an interdisciplinary project
- Numerical skills and coding skills would be advantageous.

Funding Notes

This is a 4 year fully-funded studentship.

It is open to Home / EU applicants only.

The studentship will commence October 2020.

When applying please use your personal statement to demonstrate any previous skills or experience you have in using both qualitative and quantitative research methods.


1. R. J. Bomphrey, T. Nakata, N. Phillips, S. M. Walker, Smart wing rotation and trailing-edge vortices enable high frequency mosquito flight. Nature 544, 92 (2017).

2. T. Nakata, et al., Aerodynamic imaging by mosquitoes inspires a surface detector for autonomous flying vehicles. Science 368, 6491 (2020)

3. R. J. Bomphrey, R. Godoy-Diana, Insect and insect-inspired aerodynamics: unsteadiness, structural mechanics and flight control. Current Opinion in Insect Science 30, 26-32 (2018).

4. N. Phillips, K. Knowles, R. J. Bomphrey, The effect of aspect ratio on the leading-edge vortex over an insect-like flapping wing Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 10 5 (2015)

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