PhD Scholarship in Machine Learning-based Weed Detection for Agricultural Robotics

Monday 09 Dec 19

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Apply no later than 24 January 2020
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The Department of Electrical Engineering invites applicants for 3-years PhD position in the area of Machine Learning-based Weed Detection for Agricultural Robotics in the Automation and Control Group. The goal of this PhD project is to define and develop the perception system for an autonomous agricultural robot to perform weeding tasks in grasslands.

The PhD project is funded by the H2020 European project GALIRUMI (Galileo-assisted robot to tackle the weed Rumex obtusifolius and increase the profitability and sustainability of dairy farming). Thus, this PhD project will be an integral part of a broader research team, consisting of collaborating partners across Europe with a common passion for autonomous agricultural robotics.

The PhD candidate will explore machine learning methods to analyze data from cameras and LIDAR sensors onboard an autonomous mobile robot. The ultimate goal of this PhD project is to detect and localize Rumex weeds in the obtained data, so that the robotic system can subsequently treat them without using herbicides. The perception system needs to operate under open-field environmental and lighting conditions and the developed detection algorithms need to respect the real-time nature of the carrying robotic system. As a result, the research topic of this PhD project stands at the intersection of Machine Learning, Computer Vision and Robotics.

Responsibilities and tasks
Are you passionate about making agriculture more sustainable? Can you also see the opportunities that Machine Learning, Computer Vision and Robotics open up for autonomously operating agricultural robots? If you share our passion for technology and the difference it can make to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, then perhaps you are our new PhD student.

As part of our research team:

  • You will be responsible for the sensor system and the perception algorithms of an autonomous mobile robot.
  • You will engage in research around deep learning and 2D/3D computer vision for a well-defined real problem.
  • You will participate in the integration and field testing of the robotic platform, together with our other high-profile European partners of the GALIRUMI project.
At DTU, you will be part of the Automation and Control Group and you will find yourself among multiple PhD students and senior researchers working on multiple aspects of autonomous robotics and systems. Your PhD project will result in scientific publications and experimental validation of your results. You will present at international conferences as part of your research training and you will in addition sharpen your didactics skills through experience as teaching assistant.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) in Robotics, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or equivalent, or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. 

Additionally, it would be nice to have any experience with some of the following:
  • Specialization in machine learning or robot vision would be an advantage.
  • Experience with open-source tools for machine learning and robot vision would be an advantage.
  • Familiarity with design of convolutional neural networks architectures would be an advantage.
Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the
DTU PhD Guide

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.  

Further information
Further information may be obtained by contacting Associate Professor Lazaros Nalpantidis,
or +45 5162 1776.

You can read more about Automation and Control Group at the Department of Electrical Engineering at

Please submit your online application no later than 24 January 2020 (local time)
Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include: 
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered. 

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Electrical Engineering educates students within electrical engineering technologies. We offer studies at BEng, BSc, MSc and PhD levels, and participate in joint international programmes. We conduct state-of-the-art research within antenna and microwave technology, robot technology, power and physical electronics, acoustic environment, electro-acoustics, electric power and energy. Our department has more than 200 members of staff.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.