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PhD Studentship: The Effects of Autonomous Vehicles on Vulnerable Road Users

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  • Full or part time
    Dr A Morris
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Application details:
Reference number: 19/20 APM/AF
Start date of studentship: January 2020
Closing date of advert: 24 November 2019

Primary supervisor: Prof Andrew Morris
Secondary supervisor: Prof Pete Thomas, Dr Ashleigh Filtness

To study the impacts of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) on Vulnerable Road User (VRU) safety. VRUs (e.g. pedestrians, cyclists, child road-users, who are vulnerable to injury) are a major challenge within the transport system and form 59% of killed/seriously injured road-users.

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Loughborough Design School

Loughborough University Design School researchers in the Transport Safety Research Centre have over 35 years of experience in transport research and staff are expected to make a significant contribution to the priorities for Road Transport research through a review of current and identification of gaps in current knowledge.

Project Detail

To be successful, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) must be fully and safely integrated into the future mobility environment. The UK already has a reputation as a world-leader in CAV technology – a sector that is predicted to be worth £63 billion by 2035, and the UK government has pledged that the UK should retain such leadership in the years ahead.

However, associated with the introduction of CAVs on the roads are a range of technical and ethical challenges. One large societal sector likely to be significantly affected are the Vulnerable Road-Users (VRUs - including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, young child passengers of vehicles, older road-users, sensory-impaired road-users etc., so called as they are more vulnerable to injury in the event of road-crashes).

Some of the key research questions relating to the impact of CAVs on VRUs include;

• How can CAVs be fully integrated into future mobility systems to ensure that the benefits of CAVs are experienced by all members of society especially VRUs?

• Internal VRUs (CAV passengers) – should crashes occur, how can children, elderly, impaired and other vulnerable groups be protected when they may be seated in non-standard positions and may be unrestrained?

• External VRUs – how can CAVs successfully detect pedestrians, cyclists and other VRUs and predict their behaviours in order to identify and avoid collision risks?

• What are the specific requirements for CAVs to interact appropriately with VRUs? How can we develop transparent two-way communication between the vehicle and human?

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Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Mechanical Engineering, Design, Psychology, Ergonomics, Civil Engineering or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage:

Ergonomics/Human Factors
Mechanical Engineering
Civil Engineering

Loughborough University

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College.

Contact details

Name: Prof Andrew Morris
Email address: [Email Address Removed]
Telephone number: 01509 226981

How to apply

All applications should be made online at

Funding Notes

Funding is provided by Research England under the i3 International Investment initiative. It provides a tax-free stipend of £15,009 a for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.

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