Ledig stilling ved NMBU

Postdoctoral Fellow within Autonomous Navigation for Robots in Agriculture

Deadline: 01.10.2019

Do you have a PhD in Engineering Cybernetics, Robotics, Control, or similar?

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 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.


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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.

About REALTEK

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.

In order to exploit the great potential of robots in agriculture, these robots rely on accurate information on their own position and their surroundings. Precision operations such as harvesting and removal of weeds require the accuracy of navigation to be at the cm-level. Reliable estimates of navigation information with high accuracy is difficult with satellite-based systems alone, so one will have to rely on integrated solutions with information from many types of 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.

The postdoctoral fellow will be working on a research and innovation project funded by the Research Council of Norway: “Feed Carrier – Autonomous, robust, and flexible feed delivery robot”. Project partners are T. Kverneland & Sønner AS (TKS), Felleskjøpet, Orkel AS, SINTEF Digital and NMBU. The Feed Carrier project aims to develop a robust, ground-based, autonomous feeding robot with an accompanying feed kitchen for cost-effective operation and improved animal health.

The most central challenge of the Feed Carrier project will be to develop navigation for both indoor and outdoor use in farm environments, taking collision avoidance for humans, animals and other vehicles into consideration. The postdoctoral fellow will be working on this task in close collaboration with researchers at NMBU and SINTEF. The navigation will be implemented on smaller ground robots (e.g. the Thorvald robot) for testing and development and will be transferred to the system developed by TKS towards the end of the project.

The successful candidate will be part of the robotics group at REALTEK, and will be working in close cooperation with the other members of the group. The robotics group at REALTEK is an active group of about 20 researchers, including 10 PhD candidates. The group has developed the Thorvald robot, a highly versatile robot specifically designed for the agricultural domain. The robot operates both indoor in tunnels and greenhouses, and in outdoor environments. Further information about the robotics group: http://www.nmbu.no/go/robotics.

Main tasks

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 environments.
  • 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.

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.

Academic Qualifications and personal skills

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.

Desired Academic qualifications

  • 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

The positions will be awarded on a competitive basis. Emphasis will be put on personal qualities and potential as a world-class researcher or practitioner.

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.

Being a member of an interactive project team, successful candidates should have strong communication and cooperation skills.

Required personal skills

  • Proficiency in both spoken and written English
  • Result-oriented and highly motivated
  • High work capacity
  • Excellent collaboration 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

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.

For further information, please contact:

general Information to applicants

Application

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: 01.10.2019

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

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 01.10.2019.

Please quote reference number 19/03689

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