PhD position: Team-based planning and execution control for multi-domain autonomous vehicles – Deadline 10 October 2022

It took only a few decades for robotic underwater, surface and air vehicles to revolutionize ocean exploration. But this is just the beginning. Vehicle heterogeneity and functional diversity will enable new teamed capabilities and new concepts of operation that could not have been imagined before. Teamed operations enable high-level specifications, interactions, and autonomy.

The main goal of this project is to develop an autonomy framework for teamed operations in the open ocean. This entails planning and execution control supported by AI-based systems, formal verification, and optimization techniques to develop a hierarchical planning and execution control architecture for teamed operations. This will involve the specification of team-level tasks, modular task decomposition, and dynamic allocation of vehicles to teams. The autonomy framework should provide assurances for overall system properties, leveraging static or runtime verification techniques.

The project builds on experience of LSTS-UPORTO ( in the development and deployment of networked vehicle systems for ocean observation ( The proposed developments are applicable to other areas involving exploration of remote and communications challenged environments on Earth or in space.

Notice of the call
Download english version here

Tasks and Responsibilities

  • Familiarize yourself with current state-of-the-art in the fields of (1) teamed robotics, (2) models of computation for concurrent/distributed systems, (3) applications of maritime robots to ocean sciences, security, and defense, (4) software frameworks for networked underwater and surface autonomous vehicles, (5) planning, (6) execution control for autonomous vehicles, and (7) supervisory control.
  • Develop formal specifications for teamed tasks and task decomposition, as well as for team-level constraints and properties, with focus on maritime operations of multi-domain vehicles.
  • Develop a modular team-level planning and execution control framework enabling team-level specifications, modular decomposition, vehicle to team allocation, team-level task switching logic, and dynamic team composition.
  • Evaluate and test the planning and execution control framework in a simulation environment.
  • Deploy the planning and execution control framework on LSTS’s multi-domain vehicles for evaluation and testing in operational environments.


Candidate must hold a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in any of the following fields: computer science, mechanical/electrical engineering, physics, mathematics, or related fields. The degree should have been completed in the last 5 years at most. The candidate must have strong analytical skills and be able to work at the intersection of computation and control. Prior experience in autonomous vehicles, concurrent systems theory, formal verification, and related fields will be a plus.

Hiring institution specific remarks- PhD Enrollment PhD position at the Laboratório de Sistemas e Tecnologias Subaquática – LSTS

(Underwater Systems and Technologies Lab) at FEUP from University of Porto ( The project involves collaboration with the DCC/FCUP from University of Porto and the DINF/FCT-UAc from the University of the Azores.


Prof. João Sousa (LSTS/FEUP), contact:, Prof. Eduardo Marques (DCC/FCUP), Prof. Francisco Martins (DINF/FCT-UAc).

The AIR Centre PhD Scholarship Programme aims at training the leaders of the future

Enhancing scientific research and technology development capabilities of AIR Centre Network in order to better respond to national priorities and global challenges in the Atlantic region;

  • Strengthening existing collaboration ties and exploring or developing new collaboration ties between the AIR Centre and the Portuguese scientific community in areas of common interest;
  • Promoting bilateral/multilateral cooperation between Portuguese scientific institutions and other institutions from diverse Atlantic countries through inclusive knowledge and data sharing to promote job creation, young entrepreneurship and inclusive sustainable development;
  • Expanding the reach of the AIR Centre scientific agenda through a wider engagement with the academia to demonstrate the societal relevance and public value of research.

Doctoral research work will be carried out entirely or partially in a Portuguese institution.


Scholarships are annual, renewable to a maximum of 4 years.


Applications and all supporting documents must be submitted online using the Application Form available on each scholarship page. Applications submitted by other means will not be accepted.

Application Process

Please note that you will need the items listed below. To ease the submission process, we suggest you gather them before you start your application:

  • Copy of your Identification Document (ID card, passport);
  • Recognition of the foreign academic degrees and the conversion of the respective final grade to the Portuguese grading scale, if applicable;
  • Your Curriculum Vitae and saved as PDF;
  • A Motivation Letter;
  • Your PhD work plan, if applicable (please check scholarship link for details before working on this);
  • 2 Recommendation letters.
  • Ciência ID

Except for official documents, application and all related documents must be submitted in English.

Notification of results

Evaluation results will be communicated to the email address provided by the candidates in the application form.

Before applying, IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you carefully read the Public Notice of the Call for detailed information on the application, evaluation and selection process. Public Notice can be found on each scholarship page.
To access the Application Form (found within each scholarship page), you need to Register (create an account). When doing so, please make sure to write your email address correctly since all relevant information regarding your application will be sent to that email. Once you register, a password will be sent to your email and you can then Log In. Access the Scholarship Programme tab and scroll down to see all the available scholarships.

You can only submit one application for each scholarship. You can edit and save the application form at any time. The form will be available on the platform for editing until the application deadline, or until you submit the application. Once you submit your application, you will not be able to un-submit or make any changes.

Please note that the application to this scholarship program does not grant you a place in a PhD programme. Make sure you apply to the PhD programme identified in each scholarship.
Questions related to the application process or Application Form should be addressed to the AIR Centre through the email using the following subject line: AIR Centre PhD Scholarship Programme – [your name]. The AIR Centre will reply to all information requests up to 3 working days before the applications submission deadline. Before contacting the AIR Centre carefully read all the documents related to the Call and the information available on the AIR Centre’s website.

To find out more, click here.

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