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Determining the dynamics of risk in motorway traffic scenarios (access ramps and lane change) to inform the development of future performance metric requirements for connected and autonomous vehicles

Institute for Future Transport and Cities

About the Project

This PhD project is part of the Cotutelle arrangement between Coventry University, UK and Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

The successful applicant will spend the 1st year at Coventry University and the following year at Deakin University and then the final 1.5 years at Coventry University

The supervision team will be drawn from the two Universities.

Adoption of autonomous vehicle technology promises to deliver a wide range of social, economic, and environmental benefits. The precise magnitude of these benefits is difficult to predict at this stage, but existing research suggests that the net impact of autonomous vehicles will be significant. A barrier to the wider adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) is ensuring that they can operate safely as part of the existing mobility system. Present approaches to the deployment of CAV, and for the purposes of evidence collection, are based on a safety case where risks are identified and either controlled or removed. Where risks cannot be controlled or removed an adversarial formulation (complete risk aversion) of the problem is formulated - the price paid is lots of false positives and a negative impact on the performance of the system (in exchange for “absolute” safety). This is the motivation for the research, to determine future performance metrics based on measuring the dynamics of risk in traffic scenarios. Assessing risk and making risk-aware decisions is widely considered a key step toward ensuring efficient and safe deployment of CAV going forwards. This research will look to establish a direct measure of dynamic of risk in traffic scenarios associated with limited access roads (those with access ramps and central divide between two carriageways).


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. 

Applicants must meet the admission and scholarship criteria for both Coventry University and Deakin University for entry to the cotutelle programme.  

This includes;  

  • Applicants should have graduated within the top 15% of their undergraduate cohort. This might include a high 2:1 in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 70% mark (80% for Australian graduates) in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 70% overall module average (80% for Australian graduates). 


  • A Masters degree in a relevant subject area, with overall mark at minimum Merit level. In addition, the mark for the Masters dissertation (or equivalent) must be a minimum of 80%. Please note that where a candidate has 70-79% and can provide evidence of research experience to meet equivalency to the minimum first-class honours equivalent (80%+) additional evidence can be submitted and may include independently peer-reviewed publications, research-related awards or prizes and/or professional reports. 


  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).  


  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study.  


For an overview of each University’s entry requirements please visit:  


Please note that it is essential that applicants confirm that they are able to physically locate to both Coventry University (England) and Deakin University (Australia)

 A demonstrable interest and experience of innovative approaches to measure the performance of mobility systems, specifically the problems around understanding of the complex interface between the technical and social spaces (i.e. how users may perceive risk and this links to technology development pathways) would be looked upon as beneficial for this project. 

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Huw Davies

To apply online 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. 

Please note that applications must be made to both Universities

To apply please visit:

For Coventry University

For Deakin University

 Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

 Start date: September

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

Funding Notes

£15,000 bursary plus tuition fees - UK/EU/International
(Approximate bursary equivalent Australia dollars $27596)

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