PhD Studentship in Artificial Intelligence and Mechanism Design for Optimal Routing of Connected Vehicles

University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science

United Kingdom

PhD Studentship - Artificial Intelligence and Mechanism Design for Optimal Routing of Connected Vehicles

Agents, Interactions & Complexity

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Monday 22 March 2021
Reference:  1335621FP

Supervisory Team:    Sebastian Stein, Enrico Gerding, Paul Brookes (Siemens)

Project description

Connected and autonomous vehicles have the potential to make better use of the existing road infrastructure. In this PhD project, jointly supervised by Siemens Mobility, you will achieve this by developing techniques for suggesting personalised routes to users.

In particular, this project will integrate the following strands of research:

1. Congestion prediction. In order to predict congestion, your system will use routes shared by other users in real time. This will need to be done in a privacy-sensitive manner.

2. Preference learning. In order to learn a user’s preference while minimising cognitive burden, your system will learn tacitly from observations and limited interactions (e.g., by presenting simple alternatives).

3. Suggestion optimisation. Based on the predictions and the personal preferences of individuals, your system will come up with route suggestions that maximise the overall benefit across all users, considering diverse objectives such as travel time and pollution.

4. Incentives. You will use game theory and mechanism design to offer appropriate micropayments to users, in order to incentivise them to follow suggested routes. Additionally, you will explore the use of blockchain technology to implement these incentive mechanisms.

Depending on your interests, your project may emphasise some of these strands over others.

Industrial Collaboration

This project is in collaboration with Siemens Mobility. This is a unique opportunity to work with a global player in connected and autonomous vehicles, and you will receive dedicated supervision from both the University and Siemens. During your PhD, you will be mainly based at Southampton, but are expected to spend at least some of your time at the Siemens offices in Poole and/or London. These arrangements can be flexible depending on your interests.

 Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is central to our ethos. We particularly encourage women, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), LGBT and disabled applicants to apply for this position. 

If you wish to discuss this project informally, please contact Sebastian Stein, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 7645

Entry Requirements

Applicants are expected to have a first-class degree or equivalent in computer science, maths, transportation or operation research/economics with some experience in artificial intelligence and/or optimisation.  Good programming skills are essential.

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 22 March 2021 for a start in May 2021. A later starting date, up to 30 September 2021, may be possible. Later applications may also be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: Tuition Fees and an enhanced stipend of £18,500 tax-free per annum for up to 4 years. There is generous additional travel funding for conferences, workshops and meetings with Siemens.

To be eligible you have to typically be a UK national or an EU national who has been a UK resident for least 3 years. For details see:  

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2021/22, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD  Computer Science (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor, Sebastian Stein.

Applications should include: 

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

 For further information please contact: 

In your application, please refer to