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Development of model-embedded air data instrumentation and sensor integration for advanced unmanned aircraft


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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  Dr Dave Birch  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The purpose of this doctoral project in Aerodynamics and Environmental Flow is to explore some of the available miniature measurement technologies which could be embedded into the skin of a small UAV.

Department/School

School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Project Description

Recent advancements in materials, automation and power storage have led to a rapid expansion of the use of unmanned aircraft (UAVs) in a wide range of applications from pizza delivery to disaster relief. As these systems become more and more sophisticated, their need for accurate information about the air around them increases as well. However, existing air data systems tend to be either too large and heavy to be used on UAVs, or are intended for use on hobby aircraft, and are too simple to provide the required accuracy and volume of data. Recent calls from the European Aviation Safety Agency, Innovate UK and the MoD have all highlighted the need for improved, more robust air data measurement techniques- and the challenging performance envelopes of UAVs render this problem even more complex. 

The purpose of this doctoral project in Aerodynamics and Environmental Flow, therefore, is to explore some of the available miniature measurement technologies which could be embedded into the skin of a small UAV. These technologies can then be experimentally characterized in order to establish their performance and response under different flow conditions. A numerical simulation of a typical UAV would then be developed, and the behaviour of these proposed systems on the surface of the simulated UAV could be modelled. This model would then become a powerful tool in the design and optimization of distributed sensing systems, as it could be used to determine the type and location of sensors best suited to return the required measurements for any given UAV configuration. 

As a final step, techniques will be developed to convert the embedded sensor signals into the required flight data using appropriate numerical techniques, including machine-learning algorithms. 

How to Apply

Open to UK and International students starting in October 2023.

Applications should be submitted via the Aerodynamic and Environmental Flow PhD programme page. In place of a research proposal you should upload a document stating the title of the projects (up to 2) that you wish to apply for and the name(s) of the relevant supervisor. You must upload your full CV and any transcripts of previous academic qualifications. You should enter ’Faculty Funded Competition’ under funding type.

Funding

The studentship will provide a stipend at UKRI rates (currently £17,668 for 2022/23) and tuition fees for 3.5 years. An additional bursary of £1700 per annum for the duration of the studentship will be offered to exceptional candidates.

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