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PhD in Vision AI for Aerospace Manufacture and Test

   Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering

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  Prof S Robson  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Large volume metrology is used to achieve accurate, precise and reliable dimensional measurements across large distances using both traditional and newly evolving technologies. The technique is at its most challenging in the aerospace industry, where large components, such as airliner wings, must be manufactured to exacting, sub-millimetre tolerances and rigorously assessed, using both digital and physical testing, to ensure they meet stringent safety and environmental performance requirements.

This PhD project is part of an initiative under the Royal Academy of Engineering / Airbus Chair in Large Volume Metrology and will cover the following themes:

  • Vision AI Automated 3D feature and part recognition, necessary for the measurement of aircraft components and test specimens.
  • Autonomous vision AI using networks of low-cost cameras, combined with industrial robots and drone technologies, as part of the manufacturing infrastructure.

The successful applicant will be part of the 3D Impact Group, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, based at UCL’s interdisciplinary HereEast facility on London’s Olympic Park. Working under joint supervision with Airbus R&T at Broughton, PhD outcomes will provide the successful candidate with highly valuable industry research focused transferable skills and provide Airbus with the opportunity to move validated industrial-scale demonstrators into production systems.

Person Specification

Applicants (UK/EU only) should be outstanding academically, ideally have 1st class or a very good 2’1 undergraduate degree or equivalent in computing, engineering, robotics, physics, geomatics, with a clear aptitude and enthusiasm for experimental research. The research will comprise experimental work on demonstrators and full-scale aircraft structures, developing vision AI solutions with state of the art imaging systems together with theoretical modelling and algorithm development. The ideal candidate would have the following skills and knowledge:

  • An understanding of vision AI and 3D imaging using passive and active sensors
  • Experience of computer programming (e.g. C, C++, MATLAB, Python, OpenSource APIs)
  • Curiosity and excitement for interdisciplinary research.
  • Experience of experimental work is a significant advantage, with a preference for (but not limited to) AI, digital imaging; computer vision; photogrammetry; metrology; aerospace engineering, and robotics.


To be eligible for fees at the UK rate, you must normally be a national of the UK (or in specified cases the family member of a UK national), be ordinarily resident in the UK on the first day of the first academic year of your programme and have been ordinarily resident within the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the specified British overseas territories or the Channel Islands/Isle of Man (the “Islands”) for the three year period before the first day of the first academic year of your programme.

Applicants should send a covering letter and CV to Professor Stuart Robson ([Email Address Removed]) and apply online to UCL by submitting the PhD application form available via Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering MPhil/PhD UCL Graduate degrees - UCL – University College London.

Please name Professor Stuart Robson as the proposed supervisor.

Contact name

Professor Stuart Robson

Contact details

[Email Address Removed]

Closing Date

31 August 2022

Interview date


Studentship Start Date

On or before September 2022

Funding Notes

Fully funded 4-year PhD studentship, with a £17,609 per annum tax free stipend in Year 1, rising with inflation.
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