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Modelling and Control of a Light Autonomous Electric Vehicle for Zero Emission Mobility as a Service


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  Dr S Huq, Dr Marion McAfee  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Sligo Ireland Electrical Engineering Mechanical Engineering

About the Project

Modelling and Control of a Light Autonomous Electric Vehicle for Zero Emission Mobility as a Service

Project Description

The reduction of emissions from the transport sector is a key objective for the Irish Government in order to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals. CO2 emissions from transport have been growing in Ireland since 2012 and now make up a larger share than emissions from electricity or heat. Further, it is estimated that road transport is responsible for up to 30% of small particulate matter (PM) emissions in European cities and is the main cause of air-pollution-related deaths and illnesses. However considerable disruption is needed in the way we travel in order to make significant impact on transport emissions. While there are ambitious targets to ‘transition in’ circa one million Electric Vehicles (EVs) by 2030, according to the Climate Change Advisory Council this would result in a decrease of only 1.1% in transport sector CO2 emissions from 2017 levels. The high levels of ownership and usage of private cars must be tackled in order to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of transport in Ireland.

The concept of ‘Mobility-as-a-Service’ (MaaS) describes the use of digital technologies that integrate various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand. Implementing autonomy of vehicles can accelerate the concept of shared mobility by removing the need for a significant operational cost – the driver. Further autonomy can remove some of the major barriers for electrification of vehicles (decarbonisation) by autonomously roving to charging points when not in use. A proposed solution is the development of a connected, autonomous light electrical vehicle with the ability to carry more than one passenger and also small loads (such as personal luggage, shopping etc.). An example of a light electric vehicle is the ‘Zbee’ from Clean Motion. The ZBee uses 7% of the energy of a fossil fuel driven city car, is noiseless and has extremely low running costs. This project aims to address the automation of the Dynamic Driving Task (DDT) rather than the route planning aspects. The DDT includes object and event detection, recognition, and classification; object and event response; maneuver planning; steering, turning, lane keeping, and lane changing, including providing the appropriate signal for the lane change or turn maneuver; and acceleration and deceleration.

Project Objectives:

• To develop the kinematic and rigid body dynamic model of the EV Zbee using data obtained from Clean Motion.

• To develop analytical models for the actuators onboard Zbee.

• Validate the overall model (actuator and rigid body dynamics combined) with data obtained from Clean Motion.

• To simulate and optimize the onboard sensors (camera, LiDAR, RADAR) within the (Autoware) simulation environment.

• To investigate and evaluate path tracking control approaches within autonomous roving and autonomous valet parking scenarios.

• Validate the controllers within Autoware simulation environment.

Research Team

The project involves a collaboration amongst Dr Saif Huq, Dr Marion McAfee and Dr David Mulligan of the Precision Engineering & Manufacturing (PEM) Research Centre at IT Sligo. The successful candidate will join a team of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers working on various state-of-the-art technologies, including autonomous systems, at the PEM Center.

Applicant Requirements:

Suitable applicants should have achieved a 2:1 degree or better in a relevant engineering discipline (mechatronic/electronic/electrical/mechanical or related) and have an interest in robotic, autonomous and intelligent technologies, modelling and control.

FUNDING SOURCE: President’s Bursary 2020 with a maintenance grant of €18,000 p.a. (additional 2k bursary from Principal Investigator's Fund) and up to €4,000 p.a. for expenses as approved additional 2k bursary from Principal Investigator's Fund. Tuition fees (currently €819 p.a.) will be paid by the Institute for all holders of student bursaries. Students are required to pay their registration fee. The registration fee for 2021-2022 are €3,000 p.a.

DURATION: Funding will be initially for a maximum of 2 years full time Master’s registration. This research has potential to transition into a PhD up to a maximum of 4 years.

To Apply

Please send by email to Dr Marion McAfee ([Email Address Removed]) and CC Veronica Cawley ([Email Address Removed] )


1) A detailed cover letter

2) A full curriculum vitae

3) Academic transcripts for each year of study

4) Contact details of two academic referees

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit the original certificate of completion of an English test.

Please insert the subject line ‘ITSligo President’s Bursary 2020’ with your electronic correspondence.

Closing Date for Applications: 17:00 local time, 30yh July 2021.

Funding Notes

See above
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