Human-Robot Teaming for Long-Term Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of Offshore Renewable Energy Devices

The USV CETUS is capable of conducting cutting edge marine research within the Smart Sound Plymouth offshore proving area (Credit University of Plymouth)

Project description 

The main aim of this project is to develop models and methods for the coordination and cooperation of a fleet of Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (USVs) for long-term Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of offshore wind farms. 

O&M activities make up almost a quarter of the lifetime costs of an offshore wind project. The UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind generating around 7.2GW capacity. Therefore, reducing the cost of electricity production by offshore wind is very high on the government’s agenda. 

The project will offer the opportunity to engage with the main experts and stakeholders of this field and to get access to the most advanced research facilities of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Laboratories of the University of Plymouth, among which COAST laboratory and the new research facility of the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics. This facility will enable testing the control of large-scale drones, underwater and vessel vehicles. Moreover, this project will offer the chance to work in some of the most advanced testing areas in ORE like the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine of ORE Catapult, the Marine Business Technology Centre (MBTC) and the UK Maritime autonomy centre via collaboration with Thales.  


Applicants should have (at least) a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant MSc or MRes qualification. 

The studentship is supported for 3.5 years and includes full home/EU tuition fees plus a stipend of £15,285 per annum. The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for home/EU fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover overseas fees would have to cover the difference between the home/EU and the overseas tuition fee rates (approximately £12,405 per annum).

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact However, applications must be made in accordance with the details shown below.

General information about applying for a research degree at University of Plymouth is available at: . You can apply via the online application available on the link above and by clicking 'Apply now'.

Please mark your application FAO Doctoral College and clearly state that you are applying for a PhD studentship within the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics.

For more information on the admissions process contact the Doctoral College

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Friday 1 May 2020. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview in the last week of May. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received an offer of a place by the 2nd week of June should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.