Boeing Defence Australia and Flinders University :PHD scholarship in Robotics

Opening Date: 03-07-2019   Closing Date: 09-08-2019  

Boeing Defence Australia & Flinders University PhD Scholarships. 

The Flinders University Centre for Maritime Engineering in collaboration with Boeing Defence Australia invites applications from highly motivated graduates seeking to undertake a PhD in Robotics specialising in the field of Autonomous Marine Vehicles Two Ph.D Scholarships are available to work on the following two respective projects: 
  • Collaborative Autonomous Vessel Guidance for Monitoring an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Swarm: Communication with submerged autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) is severely limited to low-bandwidth acoustic communication channels. This makes it difficult for shore-based stations to remotely communicate with a submerged AUV and typically necessitates the use of a manned vessel to remain in close communication range with the AUV. Using an Autonomous Surface Vessel (ASV) as a relay station between an in-shore command centre and an AUV has the advantage of providing a continuous link between shore and AUV. The research challenges for this project will be around the development of a mission planning system that allows both AUVs and ASV to manoeuvre independently considering their respective environment disturbances and obstacles, while remaining in constant communications range.
  • Launch and Recovery of a Small Autonomous Underwater Vehicle from a larger Underwater Vessel: While small man-portable AUVs have the advantage of being much less expensive and thus more prolific than larger vehicles, small AUVs have limited battery capacity and thus limited mission endurance and speed making them unsuitable for long range deployments. This project will examine launch and recovery techniques for deploying an AUV from a larger submerged longer endurance vehicle. The recovery process is complicated by the hydrodynamic interactions between the smaller AUV and the much larger mother ship. The focus of this project is to develop an online guidance system that can track the motion of the dock facility on the mothership and guide itself into the dock


The Centre for Maritime Engineering has excellent facilities to support these research activities. It currently has two large autonomous surface vessels; a WAM-V and a Pacific 22 RHIB, and an autonomous underwater vehicle: - a Graal Tech X300.


  • For Domestic students: A top-up scholarships of $14,000 per annum is provided for up to 3 years to augment an Australian Government Research Training Program (AGRTP) Stipend Scholarship or equivalent competitive scholarship.
  • For International students: A scholarship of $28,000 per annum is provided for up to 3 years with full-fee waiver.


  • Applications are invited from students who are eligible to enrol at Flinders University and seeking to commence in second half of 2019.
  • Applications open to Australian, American, Canadian, UK or New Zealand Citizens only. 
  • Applicants must hold a Masters or First-class Honours degree or equivalent in a discipline relevant to the chosen field of study (Master/BEng in Robotics/Mechatronics or equivalent discipline).
  • Applicants should preferably have demonstrated programming expertise in ROS, Gazebo, Python, C++.
Applications close 9th August 2019
Contact: Prof. Karl Sammut (email, Tel +618 82015051). Please provide a full CV together with names of two academic/industry referees as an initial step. 
Scholarship Type: research, academic merit, commencing, continuing,