PhD Studentship in the Department of Engineering

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom


It has been found that transient longitudinal motion of automated vehicles can cause discomfort to passengers. The aim of this PhD project is to understand (using measurements and mathematical models) what features of transient longitudinal vehicle motion cause discomfort, so that vehicle motion patterns can be designed to give desired subjective qualities.

The main hypothesis is that subjective assessment of discomfort is strongly related to the ability of passengers to predict the motion of the vehicle. It is assumed that prediction is performed using a learnt 'internal mental model' of the head-neck and vehicle system. Instrumented vehicle experiments will be devised and performed to identify the extent to which a passenger can learn an accurate internal model. A mathematical simulation (Matlab/Simulink) that includes the head-neck sensorimotor system will be identified from the experimental data and used to provide insight to the measured behaviour.

The outcomes of the project are expected to be: a validated mathematical simulation of the passenger's objective and subjective responses to longitudinal vehicle motion; and metrics and guidelines for the design of longitudinal transient motion of automated vehicles.

The project is proposed to start on 1 October 2019 with a duration of three years. The project is funded by Toyota Motors Europe, subject to completion of a formal contract between Toyota and the University.

Applicants should have (or expect to obtain by the start date) at least a good 2.1 degree in an Engineering or related subject.

To apply for this studentship, please send your two page CV to Dr David Cole to arrive no later than 31 May 2019.

Please note that any offer of funding will be conditional on securing a place as a PhD student. Candidates will need to apply separately for admission through the University's Graduate Admissions application portal; this can be done before or after applying for this funding opportunity. Note that there is a £60 fee for PhD applications. The applicant portal can be accessed via: The final deadline for PhD applications is 30 June 2019, although it is advisable to apply earlier than this.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

In your application, please refer to