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Public Attitude To Unmanned Systems

   Faculty of Engineering, Environment & Computing

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  Dr D Richards  Applications accepted all year round

About the Project

Duration: 3 years Fixed Term (Starting January 2017)

Informal enquiries are essential before application; contact Dr. Dale Richards to discuss this opportunity.

Congratulations on taking your first steps toward a Research Degree with Coventry’s Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing. As an ambitious and innovative University, we’re investing an initial £100m into our new research strategy, ‘Excellence with Impact’ ( Through original approaches from world-leading experts, we’re aiming for our research to make a tangible difference to the way we live. As a research student you are an integral part of Coventry’s lively and diverse research community and contribute to our reputation for excellence. With our exceptional facilities and superb support mechanisms ( you are afforded every opportunity for academic success.

There has been a clear rise in the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which is indicated by the steady rise of regulatory permissions issued year on year by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). There have been many media reports that have discussed the use of this technology in military and civilian settings, including use by law enforcement agencies and by aviation enthusiasts. However, in the media UAVs tend to be reported on with a degree of negativity, with more emphasis on misuse than benefits.

The purpose of this research is to investigate the general public’s attitude towards the safety and use of UAVs in non-military settings in the UK. The research will explore the cognitive attributes of attitude and perception, while also exploring methods by which education can assist in ensuring that the general public gain a better understanding of the UAV market.

The PhD will examine:

- The public perception of UAVs used in commercial and leisure markets, including how UK attitudes compare to those in other countries (with reference to demographics such as age and employment background).
- Current UK UAV market trends in terms of operations and capability, and relate this to how technology uptake is generally understood.
- The relationship between the user and purpose of the technology and the degree of trust felt by the public.
- Perceptions of privacy, e.g. the context of public and private capturing of data.

Our research in Mobility & Transport ( works across our faculties and focuses on the design and engineering of future transport systems, including the growing influence of the internet and connectivity. The focus is on inclusive, sustainable and safe transport integrating the strongest research elements in design and engineering. Future transport systems have a number of high level aims including ambitions to totally eliminate road fatalities, to eliminate congestion, to provide users with seamless integrated and connected transport systems, to eliminate emissions and to develop vehicles and systems that use lightweight, efficient and recycled materials.

Successful applicants will have:

- A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average, or
- A Masters Degree in a relevant subject area will be considered as an equivalent. The Masters must have been attained with overall marks at merit level (60%). In addition, the dissertation or equivalent element in the Masters must also have been attained with a mark at merit level (60%).
- The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study
- Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).

- A background in Human Factors and Psychology
- Enthusiastic and willing to learn more about UAS perspectives.

Application Procedure:

Application information can be found in our how to apply section ( Before completing the application please contact Dr. Dale Richards (cc'ing [Email Address Removed] when you do) for an initial informal discussion about the opportunity.


All UK/EU students are eligible to apply that meet the academic requirements, the eligibility criteria can be found here: (

Funding Notes

Award Details: £15,000 Bursary plus tuition fees
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