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Detailed investigation into the energy consumption benefits of Vehicle Platooning

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, March 28, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship at the National Transport Design Centre (NTDC) to investigate the impacts and benefits of Vehicle platooning.

This research is in collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering providing a fantastic opportunity to apply this research to a real-world problem.

The NTDC is a state-of-the-art facility, operating within the University’s Institute for Future Transport and Cities. Opened in May 2017, the NTDC is designed to explore new areas of transport design research and find new ways to use existing equipment, as well as creating new technologies. It's both provocative and surprising, ambitious and disruptive, creating real transferable outcomes and impact.

The Institute for Future Transport and Cities brings together world class expertise in disciplines across art and design, human factors, engineering, manufacturing, computer systems and business studies to deliver our vision of “safe and sustainable transport solutions fit for the cities of the future”.

Williams Advanced Engineering is the technology and engineering services business of the Williams Group, providing world class innovation in engineering and technology. Williams Advanced Engineering combines cutting edge technology and the industry’s best engineers with the know-how and speed to market derived from four decades of success in the ultra-competitive environment of Formula One. The company works in close collaboration with customers and partners and the majority of programmes focus on creating energy-efficient performance to meet the sustainability challenges of the 21st Century. Williams Advanced Engineering was honoured with a 2018 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation for knowledge transfer from powering the entire Formula E grid into road vehicles and beyond.

Vehicle platooning – vehicles travelling in close proximity nose-to-tail – has been identified as a potential method for significantly reducing vehicle energy consumption. Many demonstrations and trials have taken place (and continue currently) but none has, to date, delivered a comprehensive and implementable set of recommendations about how the benefits might be delivered cost effectively and safely.

This project will have at its core the objective to ensure that the range of potential impacts and benefits is properly and robustly articulated, based on sound research methodologies.

The research programme will be tailored to the candidate’s experience and technical background but is likely to include:
1. Modelling – reviewing current CFD modelling techniques for multi vehicle platoons
2. Analysis of the influence of existing aids – e.g. deflectors, rear extensions and of future techniques such as shape morphing
3. Analysis of proximity effects – the effect of the platoon on adjacent vehicles and vice versa

Impact areas are likely to include:
• Reduced Fuel Consumption / energy
• Reduced CO2 emissions
• Improved Air Quality
o NOx
o Particulate / particulate dispersion
o Emissions dispersion
o Vehicle Systems cooling
o Noise – aeroacoustics

Training and Development

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 criteria for applicants to PhD

• 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.


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)

For further details see:

Qualified graduates from Automotive Engineering backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Andrew Parkes

To apply on line please visit:

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.

Start date: May 2019

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

Application deadline: 28th March 2019

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

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