Ledig stilling ved NMBU

Postdoctoral fellow within autonomous navigation or applications for robots in agriculture

Deadline: 01.02.2020

Are you eager to work with state-of-the-art agricultural robots in real farm environments? We are looking for a talented individual to join our team!

About the position

The Faculty of Science and Technology at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant two-year position as postdoctoral fellow within autonomous navigation or applications for robots in the agricultural domain.

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU has a special responsibility for research and education that ensures the basis of life for future generations.

Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we provide knowledge for life.

NMBU has 1700 employees and 5200 students and is organized in seven faculties. NMBU has a campus in Ås and in Oslo. In the autumn of 2020 we are co-located on Ås. Further information on NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no


The Faculty of Science and Technology
has 130 employees, about 1,100 students and about 60 PhD students. The Faculty offers bachelor, master and doctoral degrees in natural sciences and engineering in the fields of environmental physics and renewable energy, building and architecture, water and environmental technology, machine-, process and product development, robotics geomatics, data science and educational sciences. The workplace is in Ås, 30 km from Oslo.

We are looking for a postdoctoral fellow in either autonomous navigation or applications for robots in the agricultural domain. Applicants to the positions must state which of these two areas is of interest.

1. Autonomous navigation

In order to exploit the great potential of robots in agriculture, these robots rely on accurate information on their own position and their surroundings. To be successful, agricultural robots must cope with challenging topology and dynamic obstacles. The robots must also be capable of seamless indoor-outdoor navigation. Under these conditions, reliable and accurate localization cannot be achieved with satellite-based systems alone, so one will have to also incorporate data from other sensors such as e.g.: inertial sensors, cameras, laser scanners and ultra-wideband radars.

In addition, these robots need to be equipped with the sufficient level of autonomy to be able to operate safely and reliably in a complex and dynamic environment. Task allocation and scheduling tasks for one or multiple robots is an important research topic. The robots need to operate in areas where humans and animals have access, and therefore need to do this in a safe way.

2. Applications

Several tasks in agriculture require precise manipulation in a complex and unstructured environment. This calls for new tool design, new control schemes and advanced machine vision to be implemented. We are looking for candidates who have experience in developing precision tools for the agricultural domain, such as harvesters, precision weeders and seeders, or similar systems.

The faculty has a robotic setup that will be made available to the candidate. It is expected that the candidate uses this equipment to verify the performance of the suggested navigation systems with real scenarios. The Thorvald robot to be used in the experiments is developed at NMBU. The candidate will have the opportunity to test the developed methodology on a wide variety of applications, as the robot is used by several different departments at the university. The university currently has several robots available for experiments and testing. The candidate will also have access to the research farm at the university.

Main tasks

The main purpose of the post-doctoral position is to qualify for work in high-level scientific positions. A PhD degree is required.

1. Autonomous navigation

The main task of the candidate will be to implement safe and robust autonomy in the agricultural environment, and in particular for robots that operate both in the indoor and outdoor domain. The main activities will be related to one or more of the following topics:

  • Safe and robust navigation in the agricultural environment. This includes both indoor (without, or with poor GNSS coverage) and outdoor environment.
  • Obstacle avoidance in a dynamic environment.
  • Safety, in particular recognition of dangerous situations for the robot and its environment.
  • Optimal trajectory planning.
  • Human-robot interaction.
  • Certification and proven robustness.
  • System integration.

2. Applications

The main task of the candidate will be to implement efficient and robust manipulation in the agricultural environment. The main activities will be related to one or more of the following topics:

  • Gripper design
  • Algorithms for grasping in an unstructured environment
  • Trajectory planning
  • Machine vision
  • Deep learning
  • AI

The person appointed to the position will be expected to take an active part in the daily activities of the robotics group at REALTEK, including seminars, courses, etc.

Qualification requirements, desired experiences, knowledge and personal qualities

A relevant degree in Engineering Cybernetics, Robotics, Control, or similar, with very good results, is required. In addition, the candidate must have a completed PhD in a relevant topic and must have shown outstanding achievements through his/her work as a PhD.

Required Academic qualifications

  • PhD in Engineering Cybernetics, Robotics, Control, or similar.
  • Proficiency in mathematical modeling, control and statistical methods.
  • Hands-on experience from implementing algorithms on real systems.

The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:

  • Experience with implementing Kalman filters, particle filters, or similar.
  • Experience with Robot design and prototyping.
  • Experience with Navigation algorithms such as waypoint navigation, SLAM, etc.
  • Experience from large research projects or industry.
  • Experience with Machine vision.
  • Excellent programming skills, ROS, C/C++, Python

Required personal skills:

  • Proficiency in both spoken and written English
  • Result-oriented and highly motivated
  • High work capacity
  • Strong communication and cooperation skills

Desired personal skills:

  • Ability to establish research networks
  • Ability to work independently under varying conditions
  • Ability to contribute to a good atmosphere in the research group

Non-Norwegian-speaking candidates must, as a minimum, document proficiency in English. The following tests may be used as such documentation: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE).

Minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 600/ writing 4.5 (paper-based test), 92/ writing 22 (internet-based test)
  • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted),
  • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.

Remuneration and information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1352 Postdoctoral Fellow, wage framework 24, salary grade 59-67 (NOK 523 200- 605 500), depending on qualifications. Seniority Promotion in position.

A higher salary may be negotiated for highly qualified applicants.

For further information, please contact:

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 01.02.2020

Up to ten publications selected by the applicant as most relevant must be attached to the application. If it is difficult to identify the contribution of the applicant in multiple-author publications, a short explanation about the applicant’s part of the work is suggested.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within 01.02.2020.

Please quote reference number 19/05369

Applicants invited for an interview will be asked to present verified copies of diplomas and certificates.

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