PhD in Reinforcement Learning for Safer Motion Planning and Control in Autonomous Vessel Maneuvering

Job description

IMEC

​imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together close to 3,500 brilliant minds from over 70 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. All of these particular traits make imec to be a top-class employer.


University of Antwerp – imec IDLab Research group

The Internet & Data Lab (IDLab) is an imec research group at the University of Antwerp and Ghent University. IDLab focuses its research on internet technologies and data science. IDLab is a joint research initiative between Ghent University and the University of Antwerp. Bringing together 300 internet experts, we develop technologies outperforming current solutions for communication subsystems, high speed and low power networking, distributed computing and multimedia processing, machine learning, artificial intelligence and web semantics. Within Antwerp, where you will work, the overall IDLab research areas are machine learning and wireless networking. IDLab has a unique research infrastructure used in numerous national and international collaborations.
IDLab collaborates with many universities and research centers worldwide and jointly develops advanced technologies with industry (R&D centers from international companies, Flanders’ top innovating large companies and SMEs, as well as numerous ambitious startups).


For further development of the IDLab AI Applications team in the machine learning cluster, we are looking for a PhD candidate in applied artificial intelligence for mobility, with a focus on traffic state predictions.


The AI Applications team aims to bring state-of-the-art machine learning methods to industry, bridging the gap between fundamental research and industrial applications. The team conducts research in areas such as data-driven modeling, deep learning and reinforcement learning to tackle real life problems. Our goal is to make AI safely and reliably applicable in industrial scenarios, where it should complement, enhance or replace the state of the art in complex control scenarios where current techniques fail to deliver. The team applies its AI solutions in domains such as chemical engineering, autonomous shipping, traffic management and logistics, in collaboration with key industry partners in their respective domains.


The job

  • In the context of autonomous vessel maneuvering, you will conduct research in creating robust data driven motion planning and control algorithms for diverse classes of vessels including inland vessels and small scale vessels.
  • You will research methodologies to investigate safety and stability in a learned data driven model. Within autonomous shipping, COLREGs are generally used as a regulatory constraint, and it would be an objective to study the relevant regulations for validation purposes.
  • You prepare a PhD dissertation on state-of-the-art approaches in navigational planning and motion control with robustness, safety and stability in mind.
  • You publish and present results both at international conferences and in scientific journals.
  • You contribute to national and international research projects in collaboration with key players in the industry.
  • You interface and collaborate on a technical level with research partners, and will deploy your models in industrially relevant environments.

Job requirements

  • You have (or will receive within a few months) a Masters of Science degree, preferably in Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics, or related fields.
  • You are fluent in python, machine learning and deep-learning tools (TensorFlow / PyTorch etc).
  • You have a keen interest in and hands-on experience with machine learning, deep learning, and reinforcement learning.
  • Expertise in robotics and systems control is an advantage.
  • Having prior expertise in application domains such as marine / naval engineering is an advantage.
  • Having published in high-ranking conferences and journals in the field is an advantage.
  • You know how to prioritize and can deliver in time.
  • You are well-organized and able to autonomously plan and execute tasks.
  • You are a team player and have strong communication skills.
  • Your English is fluent, both speaking and writing; language proficiency in Dutch is a plus.


More information on the PhD topic: Ali Anwar - ali.anwar@uantwerpen.be

HR-related questions: Michelle Nietvelt – michelle.nietvelt@uantwerpen.be