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PhD Position Multi-Robot Motion Planning and Task Assignment in Dynamic Human-Centered Spaces

Develop novel methods for multi-robot motion planning and task assignment for mobile manipulation in environments shared with humans, leveraging tools from optimization and machine learning.

3 maanden geleden


Mekelweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 38 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


We are looking for an ambitious PhD candidate who would like to develop novel methods for multi-robot motion planning and task assignment in dynamic environments shared with humans, employing a combination of trajectory optimization (motion planning), combinatorial optimization (task assignment) and machine learning techniques. Within a larger H2020 project, your will then apply your methods to assistive mobile manipulation in healthcare.

This PhD is part of the H2020 project “HARMONY: Enhancing Healthcare with Assistive Robotic Mobile Manipulation”. The overall goal of Harmony is to enable robust, flexible and safe autonomous mobile manipulation robots for use in human-centred environments by making fundamental contributions in cognitive mechatronic technologies. Our targeted application area is assistive healthcare robotics. Our contribution to the project will be the multi-robot motion planning and task assignment module.

The objective of the PhD is to develop the theory and frameworks required for motion planning and task assignment that can handle the inherent uncertainty of mixed operation with humans and other robots. Namely, an online motion planning and task assignment approach for single and teams of robots that a) computes congestion-free plans in uncertain environments shared with humans, other robots, and movable objects, b) adapts to new information and changes in the environment and tasks, and c) is robust to partial blackouts and system failures, i.e., it can be executed in a distributed way with bounded performance. You will closely cooperate with a postdoctoral researcher and may choose to primarily focus on the motion planning part (which entails coordination and learning of interactions with other robots and humans) or the task assignment part (which entails distributed dynamic task assignment and routing). Contributions at the intersection of the two are expected.

The methods developed in this project will be tested and verified through their application to mobile robots and mobile manipulators cooperatively performing tasks in a hospital environment. Harmony consists of multiple partners across several European universities and companies and close collaboration with them, including the coordinators at ETH Zurich, is expected.

For your PhD you will be embedded within the Autonomous Multi-robots Lab in the Department of Cognitive Robotics at TU Delft. For more information of our ongoing research click here.

The main focus of the Cognitive Robotics department is the development of intelligent robots and vehicles that will advance mobility, productivity and quality of life. Our mission is to bring robotic solutions to human-inhabited environments, focusing on research in the areas of machine perception, motion planning and control, machine learning, automatic control and physical interaction of intelligent machines with humans. We combine fundamental research with work on physical demonstrators in areas such as self-driving vehicles, collaborative industrial robots, mobile manipulators and haptic interfaces. Strong collaborations exist with cross-faculty institutes TU Delft Robotics Institute and TU Delft Transport Institute), our national robotic ecosystem (RoboValley, Holland Robotics) and international industry and academia.


The candidate has a very good MSc degree in Robotics, Computer Science, Systems and Control, Electrical/Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mathematics, or a related field. The candidate must have strong analytical skills and must be able to work at the intersection of several research domains. Good programming skills and experience with Python/C++ and ROS are desirable, to implement the methods and the proposed designs on real mobile robots. A very good command of the English language is required, as well as excellent writing and communication skills. Candidates having exhibited their ability to perform research in task assignment, motion planning, machine learning, control, optimization and/or robotics are especially encouraged to apply.


TU Delft offers PhD-candidates a 4-year contract, with an official go/no go progress assessment after one year. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2395 per month in the first year to € 3061 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. For international applicants we offer the Coming to Delft Service and Partner Career Advice to assist you with your relocation.

Additional information

If you have specific questions about this position, please contact Associate Professor Dr. J. Alonso-Mora (j.alonsomora@tudelft.nl, +31 152785489) Always specify the vacancy number in the email subject. Please note: do not send application emails to this email address but use the specified address (application-3mE@tudelft.nl).

For more information about the selection precedure, please contact Mrs Hilma Bleeker at application-3me@tudelft.nl.