Postdoctoral stipend (2 years) in Automation for heavy-duty mobile hydraulic cranes with applications in agriculture and forestry

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Umeå University announces one stipend for postdoctoral research in Automation for heavy-duty mobile hydraulic cranes with applications in agriculture and forestry. The stipend is part of a massive effort on autonomous systems for industry and society of the future, with eight postdoctoral stipends in eight separate subprojects. Welcome with your application!

The Department of Applied Physics and Electronics ( is a dynamic department with about 100 employees. We are providing research and education within building technology, mechanical, electrical, and energy engineering, as well as in electronics and media technology.

The currently announced stipend is associated with the research group in Robotics and Control, whose research primarily addresses development of mathematical models for real-world systems and on their constructive use such as control of their key variables or properties. The systems of interest range from heavy-lifting hydraulic cranes, industrial manipulators, and walking robots to fluid flows within the human brain. Particularly active projects include motion planning and motion stabilization of the desired limit cycles for underactuated mechanical systems and walking robots, systematic feedback control design for automation of industrial mobile hydraulic manipulators. These are used in forestry and agriculture, systematic friction identification and compensation for precision control, interaction design and control of electrical manipulators, path planning for mobile robots and assistive power wheelchairs. For a presentation of the research group, please see

Project description
We are opening a postdoctoral stipend for research on automation for heavy-duty mobile hydraulic cranes with applications in agriculture and forestry.

Every autonomous industrial system requires a functioning controller. The controller shapes the automatic response to the changes in the commanded goal as well as in the environment. There are two key obstacles to the development of reliable controllers. The first one is imperfection of hardware sensors and of the related signal processing technology. The second one is the lack of relevant algorithms for automatic control for particular classes of industrial systems. This project is aimed at proposing and testing new algorithms for automation of particular working scenarios relevant for industry-standard agricultural front-end loaders and forestry cranes. The key challenges include:

  • the need to handle active supervision and operator take-over,
  • the complexity of standard industrial mobile hydraulic systems with sharing hydraulic flows among various subsystems,
  • inaccuracy of sensors functioning in harsh outdoor conditions, and
  • the need for appropriate human-machine interface to beneficially use partial or full automation of working cycles.

We aim at resolving these challenges by collaboration closely with our industrial partners. The scientific methods include both classical model-based approaches and new techniques, involving, in particular, switching between autonomous operation and assistance for an active human-in-the-loop control or supervision.

The project is a part of a major effort including eight postdoctoral stipends in autonomous systems. For more information, see the following link.

Each stipend is for two years with a starting date to be negotiated. The stipend, provided by the Kempe Foundations, amounts to 300 000 SEK per year. The stipend is not subject to taxes.

A qualified applicant is required to have a PhD degree or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent to PhD degree in Control Systems or Computer, Electronic, Electrical, Systems, or Mechanical Engineering, or Electronics or another subject of direct relevance for the project. The PhD degree shall not be more than three years old by the application deadline unless there are special reasons. The applicant should be strongly motivated and interested to develop new competencies, as well as to act in an international environment and collaboration with companies.

Documented knowledge and proven research experiences in at least three of the following five fields: Control Systems Engineering, Hydraulics, Industrial Automation, Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering is required. Good research merits and scientific publications in the area of the position are strongly meriting. International research experience is also a merit.

A successful candidate should be capable of performing practical implementations of controllers and performing hardware experiments, as well as producing scientific publications in English. Very good knowledge in the English language, both spoken and written, is required.

The application, preferably written in English, should include:

  • An introductory letter, summarizing your qualifications, research interests, and motivation for applying (max 2 pages)
  • CV with a list of publications
  • Copies of PhD thesis and relevant publications
  • Copies of degree certificates
  • Name and contact information for two or three reference persons

Umeå university is an equal opportunity employer, therefore, we welcome female applicants in particular.

Further information is provided by Docent Leonid Freidovich

Your complete application, marked FS 2.1.6-2280-16, should be sent electronically (in pdf-format) to (provide the reference number on the email’s subject line). Application deadline is 2017-02-15.

We look forward to your application!

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