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Post Doctoral Research Associate in Cross Sector Autonomous Mobile Robots for Terrestrial Mining and Agri-Robotics (Fixed Term)

School of Engineering

Location:  Lincoln
Salary:   From £33,797 per annum
Please note, this post is full time at 1.0 FTE and fixed term for 24 months
Closing Date:   Monday 19 April 2021
Interview Date:   Friday 30 April 2021
Reference:  COS818

The University of Lincoln is seeking to appoint a Postdoctoral Research Associate to join the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems (LCAS). The post will be for 24 months, and it is funded jointly by GMV NSL and the University of Lincoln. In the first year, the project will focus on terrestrial mining, whereas in the second year, it will assess cross-sector technology transfer to agri-robotic applications. The overall aim is to develop a new 3D volumetric mapping instrument based on autonomous terrestrial mining robots' vision. In collaboration with GMV NSL and Sundance Ltd, this study will contribute to the ongoing Innovate UK funded Autonomous Robotic InSpEction (ARISE) project.  Please refer to the job description for more details on the role requirements. A summary of the project is below:

Project Description

The ARISE project aims to implement autonomous surveys of geotechnical conditions during the ordinarily unproductive period immediately after the blast; this is when workers vacate the mine due to post-blasting fumes and seismic risk. It improves the safety of workers and reduces waiting time in mining operation. The study aims to develop a new 3D volumetric mapping instrument based on the vision system and fused in LIDAR data; it will run in conjunction with the ARISE project led by GMV NSL. The instrument shall consist of two Intel RealSense cameras (D435 and T265), a Livox Horizon LIDAR and variable illumination high power LEDs. 

This post will focus mainly on software development and implementing instrument data fusion, co-registration and ground truth. It will investigate the use of variable illumination (including RGB) to enhance the data and improve volumetric mapping accuracy in an underground environment. The device will be tested in extreme field conditions, inside a mine, using an autonomous mobile robot from GMV NSL.

During the second half of this project, the same instrument box will be upgraded with a multispectral camera for agri-robotics research. The project will investigate data quality improvements using the variable illumination source (stereo white and RGB) for monitoring crops at night times. Field trials will involve night-time data collection to produce more consistent results in a more controlled illumination setting.

About the candidate

We are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled individual to join our research team at L-CAS. The post holder is expected to have completed (or be close to completing) a PhD in Computer Science, Robotics, Mechatronics or similar fields. The post holder will be required to develop innovative software solutions for implementing autonomous surveying in an extreme environment. Therefore, previous experience in image processing, Machine Learning, SLAM, Autonomy and Control systems is needed. The candidate must have good hands-on skills in testing mobile robots and an extensive experience in programming using ROS, Python and C++. 

Informal enquiries about this post can be made to: Prof Mini C. Saaj (msaaj@lincoln.ac.uk)

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