Research assistant in the domain of autonomous inland shipping at KU Leuven

Research assistant in the domain of autonomous inland shipping

(ref. BAP-2019-177) Laatst aangepast : 30/08/2019
The Robotics research at KU Leuven Department of Mechanical Engineering has pioneered robotics research in Europe since the mid-1970s. It has covered virtually all aspects of sensor-based robotics, from the high-level task specification down to low-level sensor-based control, and applied the research results in a variety of industrial applications. In the last decade the group shifted its attention towards advanced industrial robot assistants, and active sensing. The Intelligent Mobile Platform (IMP) group is a multi-disciplinary and multi-campus research group originating from the robotics research with a focus on the intelligent design and control of the mobile platforms of the future with a special focus on waterway transport applications. The industrial relevance of the department's research activities is witnessed by its many spin-off companies and its tradition of close industry collaboration in numerous European, national, and bilateral projects.
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Autonomous trucks are emerging on our highways demonstrating the opportunities of translating mobile robotics sensor and software technology from the lab to the road. Safe autonomous navigating in a unstructured environment, including multiple unpredictable vehicles, remains challenging and of primary concern to both the technology developers and the legislative government. Another emerging field is autonomous shipping that faces similar challenges but at a different time and complexity scale. Our research group is performing research both at vessel and at cloud level. At vessel level we are developing new types of perception by fusing point cloud sensor data with other available information and we are investigation alternative propulsion systems (hydrogen of wind assisted). At cloud level we are working on a digital twin that is represented using a dynamic IENC map to improve data sharing and facilitate autonomous shipping on the large scale. We are looking for a candidate that is interested in at least one of these previously described topics (perception - propulsion - digital twin).
  • You are the holder of a master's degree in Engineering Technology, Engineering Science, Computer Science or equivalent.
  • You have a critical attitude and perseverance to participate in research projects.
  • You have a strong analytic mind that is able to translate mathematical constraints in to practical considerations.
  • Maritime experience or knowledge is a big asset (sailing license, ...).
  • You can work independently and pro-actively, you have a sense of order and you are accurate and stress resistant.
  • You are analytical, results-oriented and student centered.
  • You will assist in the education of the program in Engineering Technology by cooperating in projects, exercise sessions and lab sessions.
  • You have good communication skills (written and spoken) in English. Knowledge of Dutch is an asset.
  • Hands-on experience with robot platforms and sensor systems (vision, force, …) are a plus.

Software development will be an important part of your core research. The following elements will be considered in the evaluation:
  • proficiency in (or willingness to learn) multiple programming paradigms (object-oriented, procedural, functional, declarative), possibly with different general purposes languages (C/C++, Python, Matlab, ...)
  • experience with existing robotics middleware (Orocos, ROS, MOOS-ivp, ...)
  • experience with existing database frameworks (with preference to NO SQL and graph-based databases)
  • experience with implementing planning, control or estimation algorithms
  • experiences with model-driven engineering approach
  • contributions to free and open source software projects (also beyond the topic of the project) are a plus. If so, please list them clearly in your application or send us your portfolio

In your motivation letter or extended CV description, please consider to mention your previous experiences and skills which may help to make relevant contributions to the research group.
We offer a challenging research job within running VLAIO and EFRO, H2020 projects combined with an attractive salary package. We currently offer a research position in a stimulating and multi-disciplinary environment and with a strong industry network. After a positive evaluation the candidate could be offered a PhD position depending on his/her ambitions. Your job location will be in Leuven.
A start date in the course of 2019 (preferably before September 2019) is to be agreed upon.
For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Peter Slaets, tel.: +32 16 32 27 73, mail: or Mr. Raheel Afzal, tel.: +32 16 19 40 85, mail:
You can apply for this job no later than November 01, 2019 via the online application tool
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Sollicitatieprocedure
  • Arbeidsvoorwaarden
  • Loopbaanmogelijkheden

Tewerkstellingspercentage: Voltijdse of deeltijdse tewerkstelling mogelijk
Locatie: Leuven
Technologiecluster Werktuigkundige Industriële Ingenieurstechnieken, Campus Groep T Leuven
Solliciteren tot en met: 1/11/2019
Tags: Industriële Ingenieurswetenschappen, Werktuigkunde, Computerwetenschappen, Elektrotechniek, Ingenieurswetenschappen
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