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Adaptive Ocean Sampling and Mapping using Networked Marine Robots (surface and underwater vehicles)

The work envisioned aims to contribute to the development of strategies that will afford groups of autonomous marine robots the capability to acquire relevant ocean data at the appropriate temporal and spatial scales in a cost-effective manner. To this end, the robotic systems will leverage on prior available data (e.g. from satellites in the case of surface phenomena or remote acoustic sensing from research ships in the case of underwater environments ) and use online acquired data to collectively make decisions regarding the best strategy to maneuver and sample a desired volume of water or map a given area using appropriate sensors. The applications are manifold (e.g. seabed mapping, fisheries, ecosystem studies, inspection of critical infrastructures, and environmental protection) and require the use of advanced tools on distributed navigation, control, and decision making, the combination of which is still in its infancy.

Notice of the call
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AIR Centre PhD grants are aimed at applicants enrolled or that comply with the requirements to enroll for PhD related studies and who wish to carry out research towards this degree. Candidates with a MSc degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering (or equivalent/similar area) may apply.

Summary of work plan
The work will witness both theoretical advancements and practical field experiments with a group of autonomous surface and underwater marine robots (including AUVs, ASVs, hybrid ROV/AUV vehicles, and underwater gliders that are property of IST), in the following research areas: navigation systems including terrain aided navigation, cooperative motion planning, navigation, and control, fault detection and fault recovery, networked control using hybrid acoustic/optical communication networks, and sensor based control (eg: closing the loop with vision and sonar). A research work plan will be discussed between the selected candidate and the advisors within the areas previously mentioned.

Name(s) of supervisor(s)
Supervisor: Prof. David Cabecinhas, Instituto Superior Técnico
Co-Supervisor: Prof. António Pascoal, Instituto Superior Técnico

Name(s) of hosting institution(s)
The work will be conducted at Dynamical Systems and Ocean Robotics Lab (DSOR), Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) extending existing cooperation links already in place with Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway; University of Sao Paulo (USP), Brazil; and Pontifical Bolivarian University, Colombia.

Identification of PhD program
PhD Programme in Electrical and Computer Engineering (PDEEC) of the Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Univ. Lisbon, Portugal

Please check the programme’s website for a description of the PhD Programme For additional information on the PhD programme, please address an email to Mrs Helena Santana ( with your enqueries. All question related to the scholarship should be addressed to

Jury Composition
José Alberto Victor (IST, Universirty of Lisboa, Portugal) (Chairman)
Giovanni Indiveri (University of Genova, Italy)
Lionel Lapierre (The Montpellier Laboratory of Computer Science, Robotics, and Microelectronics, University of Montpellier, France)

FCT application form
Download and fill in the FCT Form, print it, sign it and then upload it to the Application Form where requested.
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GDPR Policy Terms
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