This project aims to develop an adaptive flight control system based on a learning based approach. The adaptive approach will enable the flight control system to safely learn and re-learn how to fly through a combination of flight simulation and real-world experience.

This study will be supported by both Cranfield University and BAE Systems under iCASE award for 3.5 years. The tuition fee will be covered and a bursary of £18,000 pa will be provided for 3.5 years. Applicants should have a minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area (e.g. aerospace, mechanical, electrical, control engineering).

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Cranfield overview and Sponsor Information/Background: Cranfield is an exclusively postgraduate university that is a global leader for transformational research and education in technology and management. Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF) has recognised 81% of Cranfield’s research as world leading or internationally excellent in its quality. Every year Cranfield graduates the highest number of postgraduates in engineering and technology in the UK (Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency Ltd).

The project will be supported under iCASE award. The industrial sponsor is BAE Systems. BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company. They provide some of the world’s most advanced, technology-led defence, aerospace and security solutions and employ a skilled worksforce over 40 countries. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, including the developments, delivery and support of military air platforms, naval surface vessels and submarines.

The adaptive approach to be developed will enable the flight control system to safely learn and re-learn how to fly through a combination of flight simulation and real-world experience. This could completely shift the paradigm of the typical control system design approach, current practiced. The adaptive flight control system should be able to substantially reduce the cost of change and time of change associated with modifications to the outer mould line of an aircraft. It should enable the aircraft to fly despite having fault, failure, received significant battle damage and/ or loss, or malfunction of the aircraft and its aerodynamic control surfaces. Consequently, we can expect a substantial increase in aircraft survivability and availability, which refers to the ability to safely fly the aircraft despite it having some faults.

The studentship will be supported by both Cranfield University and BAE Systems under the iCASE award framework. The supervision team from Cranfield University has a strong track record on flight control systems and adaptive control. BAE Systems would be happy to support this PhD programme to guide the project and provide critical and considered peer review of the research results. This will provide the student a unique opportunity to learn both theoretical and practical aspects of real flight control systems.

The student will be able to gain fundamental knowledge about not only flight control systems, but also general control concepts. The involvement of BAE Systems will provide experiences on real world problems in the industry, which will thus give the student very unique opportunities to learn both theoretical and practical aspects of flight control systems. Moreover, this project intends to develop innovative adaptation using learning-based approach such as the deep reinforcement learning. The innovation proposed should be applicable to various systems including aircraft or UAS and be reusable even in the presence of configuration changes of system. There have been numerous research and development activities, exploring the advantages of learning-based approaches. It is expected that this project will provide many great opportunities to the student.

At a glance

  • Application deadline13 Sep 2019
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date01 Oct 2019
  • Duration of award3.5 years
  • EligibilityUK
  • Reference numberSATM112

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area (e.g. aerospace, mechanical, electrical, control engineering) with a minimum 60% mark in the Project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average. There will be the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5-year period of study. Also, the candidate is expected to:

  • Have excellent analytical, reporting and communication skills
  • Be self-motivated, independent and team player
  • Be genuine enthusiasm for the subject and technology
  • Have the willing to publish research findings in international journals.

Funding

To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be a UK national. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK i.e. have no visa restrictions or applicant has “settled status” and has been “ordinarily resident” in the UK for 3 years prior to start of studies and has not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does apply to EU nationals).

About the sponsor

Sponsored by EPSRC and BAE Systems, this studentship will provide a bursary of £18,000 pa (tax free) plus fee for 3.5 years.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.


How to apply

For further information please contact: 
Name: Hyo-Sang Shin
Email: h.shin@cafnield.ac.uk
T: (0) 1234 750111 Ext: 8577