New Exciting Positions at the AASS MRO Lab


Semantic Mapping and Use of Prior Maps,
Learning Spatial Motion Patterns and Reliability-Aware Mapping for Safe Localization,
Perception for Autonomous Manipulation,
Human Robot Interaction for Intra-Logistic Applications


Ph.D. and Postdoc Positions

Several fully funded Ph.D. (4 years) and postdoc positions (2+2 years) are available at the AASS Mobile Robotics and Olfaction Lab and the AASS Autonomous Mobile Manipulation Lab at University of Örebro, Sweden within the new EU research and innovation project DARKO (Contact: Achim J. Lilienthal, Martin Magnusson, and Todor Stoyanov).

We accept applications both for Ph.D. students and for post-docs. Please find specific application instructions for Ph.D. students and for post-docs below.

We are looking forward to your application!

Research Topics

The open positions relate to the following cutting edge research topics.

Research Topic #1 “Semantic Mapping and Use of Prior Maps”

The direction of this position is aligned with contemporary research topics in mapping and localisation for autonomous mobile robots. Specifically, the successful candidate will be expected to contribute to research on connecting existing algorithms for mapping with object detection and other kinds of semantic segmentation, providing mutual benefits in order to provide better object detection and also more robust and rich maps and localisation methods. The topic also includes combining different sources of prior information for autonomous navigation.

Research Topic #2 “Learning Spatial Motion Patterns and Reliability-Aware Mapping for Safe Localization”

The direction of this position is aligned with contemporary research topics in mapping and localisation for autonomous mobile robots. Specifically, the successful candidate will be expected to contribute to research on (1) representing, learning and using maps of dynamics that represent spatial motion patterns for “flow-aware” robots that are aware how people tend to move, and plan their motions to move safely and efficiently together with people; and (2) reliability-aware mapping and safe localisation, enabling robots to better self-monitor the quality of their mapping and localisation systems.

Research Topic #3 “Perception for Autonomous Manipulation”

This position is within the field of 3D perception and scene understanding for autonomous manipulation. Specifically, the successful candidate will be expected to contribute to research on (1) object- and scene- level semantic perception algorithms that can be trained with sparsely labeled or self-supervised data and are suitable for dynamically changing scenes; (2) methods for direct interfacing between perception and manipulation in a reinforcement learning setting; and (3) methods for manipulation and state estimation of deformable objects, using an underactuated robot hand. The successful candidate is expected to identify one of the three topics as a main focus area.

Research Topic #4 “Human Motion Prediction and Mutual Communication of Navigation Intent”

The direction of this position is aligned with contemporary research topics in Human-Robot Spatial Interaction. Specifically, the successful candidate will be expected to contribute to research on (1) prediction of human motion and recognition of human intentions through observation of articulated body motion and via eye-tracking (thus enabling robots to take more informed decisions by anticipating behaviours and reacting in a timely and safe manner); and (2) communication of robot intent with a Spatial Augmented Reality system (projection on the floor) and anthropomorphic social signalling (a small humanoid robot, that acts as a “mock driver” of a forklift and signals its intentions with human-like gestures), thus facilitating smooth and safe Human-Robot Spatial Interaction.

Important: Please indicate clearly in your application what your preferred topic is. If you want to apply for several topics, please give your priority.

Environment

The research projects outlined above will be performed in close interaction with other doctoral students and senior researchers at Örebro University, and will also involve substantial collaboration with our international partners. Our partners im DARKO are, for example: TU Munich, Germany; Robert Bosch GmbH, Germany; Universita di Pisa, Italy; École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland; University of Lincoln, UK; and ACT Operations Research, Italy.

The positions are funded through the new DARKO research and innovation project (Dynamic Agile Production Robots That Learn and Optimize Knowledge and Operation). The doctoral student will belong to the MRO (Mobile Robotics and Olfaction) Lab and, in case of Research Topic #3, also the AMM (Autonomous Mobile Manipulation) Lab at the AASS centre. AASS is a strong research environment and internationally known for its expertise within artificial intelligence and robotics. Örebro University is a modern, broad-based, and growing university. We endeavour to be an attractive place of work where members of staff feel a sense of pride and satisfaction. Currently, 1,500 employees and 17,000 students come to work and study at Örebro University.

You can find more information about the AI & Robotics team at Örebro University at https://www.oru.se/jointheAIteam.

The DARKO Project

Agile Production crucially depends on the effectivity of intralogistics processes. Robots as components of these processes have the potential to be a game changer provided they are highly flexible, capable, cost- and energy-efficient, safe and able to operate in work environments shared with humans. However, the current state of the art falls short of providing these capabilities given the requirements for future production systems. Thus, DARKO sets out to realize a new generation of agile production robots that have energy-efficient elastic actuators to execute highly dynamic motions; are able to operate safely within unknown, changing environments; are easy (cost-efficient) to deploy; have predictive planning capabilities to decide for most efficient actions while limiting associated risks; and are aware of humans and their intentions to smoothly and intuitively interact with them. To maximise its impact, DARKO is aligned with use cases at the largest manufacturer of home appliances in Europe. It will demonstrate, in relevant scenarios, autonomous capabilities significantly beyond the current state of the art in dynamic manipulation (e.g., throwing of goods, picking and placing objects while in motion), perception, mapping, risk management, motion planning and human-robot interaction. Beyond its impact through improved capabilities in these areas, DARKO will provide answers to the questions where and how dynamic manipulation should be integrated as the most efficient solution in intralogistics. Since arm manipulators can, in principle, display super-human performance in terms of accuracy and repeatability, the value of integrating dynamic manipulation, e.g. throwing, into transport processes may well exceed current expectations. The DARKO consortium is uniquely placed to tackle this ambitious and challenging project. It brings together leading academic and corporate researchers, technology providers and end-users, with the required long-standing expertise.

Online Information

Information on admission to the programme, application form, the general syllabus for the subject, the Regulations Handbook, and other information can be found on Örebro University’s webpage for research student information: www.oru.se. For more information about the programme and the post, please contact Prof. Dr. Achim J. Lilienthal (achim.lilienthal@oru.se) with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martin Magnusson (martin.magnusson@oru.se) and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Todor Stoyanov (todor.stoyanov@oru.se) in CC. Please use this link for your convenience.

Örebro University actively pursues an equal work environment and values the qualities that diversity adds to our operations.

Prerequisites and Application Process: Ph.D. Application

The successful candidate is autonomous, shows strong and independent problem solving and critical analytical abilities. Furthermore, the candidate has the ability to co-operate and possesses personal maturity. Fluent spoken and written command of English is essential, but knowledge of Swedish is not necessary. Excellent programming skills are also required, as are a keen interest in mathematics, computer science, and robotics. Prior knowledge in probabilistic methods is beneficial. Experience with robotic sensing and control, machine learning, and relevant software frameworks are other valuable merits. In addition, applicants should have the equivalent of a Master’s degree in a relevant field (e.g., Physics, Applied Mathematics, Robotics, Computer Science, etc). Experience in Robotics and AI is a plus. Proficiency in written/spoken English is mandatory.

To apply, please send a motivation letter along with an updated CV (including at least two academic references) by e‑mail to Prof. Dr. Achim J. Lilienthal (achim.lilienthal@oru.se) with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martin Magnusson (martin.magnusson@oru.se) and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Todor Stoyanov (todor.stoyanov@oru.se) in CC. Please use this link for your convenience. Please indicate in the subject that you apply for a Ph.D. position and for which Ph.D. position. Where relevant, feel free to include copies of your recent publications, including your MSc thesis, into your application. Applications can be sent immediately and will be considered until the position is fixed.

Practical Information – Ph.D. Studies in Sweden

Ph.D. students in Sweden are University employees and they have all the social and financial rights of other employees. Among these: a fixed monthly salary adequate to the cost of living in Sweden, inclusion in the Swedish social security system, and at least 28 days of paid vacation each year. These conditions are guaranteed for three years as long as the requirements for the Ph.D. studies are fulfilled.

Ph.D. students in Sweden have to take advanced courses during their study program. These are typically technical courses relevant to their research project, but may also be courses about other related disciplines, including scientific methodology and project management. Courses at AASS are meant to provide students with a unique educational background in autonomous sensor systems.

Ph.D. candidates in Sweden may devote up to 20% of their time to institutional work. This work typically consists in helping with the undergraduate education. The percentage of time spent with institutional work is added to the total duration of the Ph.D. studies.

In summary, the Ph.D. students at AASS will be doing four sorts of things during their Ph.D.: work on their research project; take graduate courses; contribute to undergraduate education; and participate in the scientific life of AASS and of the international community.

Prerequisites and Application Process: Postdoc Application

Applicants should have a PhD in Robotics or a related field and of course dedication and a strong interest in the particular topic. In addition, the successful candidates should have a solid theoretical background and excellent programming skills. Previous experience in the relevant field is a plus. It is not necessary to be familiar with the Swedish language, but proficiency in written/spoken English is mandatory.

To apply for the position, please indicate that you apply for a for a postdoc position and your preferred subject and send the following documents in PDF format to Prof. Dr. Achim J. Lilienthal (achim.lilienthal@oru.se) with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martin Magnusson (martin.magnusson@oru.se) and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Todor Stoyanov (todor.stoyanov@oru.se) in CC. Please use this link for your convenience.

  • a one page research statement that describes the preferred research topic and your suitability for this topic,

  • an updated curriculum vitae (CV) including at least two references (names and contact details),

  • a full list of publications,

  • copies of the three most relevant publications.

 

 
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