PhD - Virtual reality assessment of pedestrian and cyclist interaction with automated vehicles

Research / Academic

TU Delft, the Netherlands, invites applications for a fully funded PhD position in the European project “SHAPE-IT: Supporting the interaction of Humans and Automated vehicles”.

SHAPE-IT is recruiting 15 PhD candidates in Sweden, the Netherlands, UK, and Germany, collaborating through internships and joint training. SHAPE-IT is funded by a European Commission Horizon 2020 program for research and innovation: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN). 

Vehicle automation has been identified as a game-changer in transport, promising substantial reductions in road-traffic fatalities while improving mobility. However, the processes of integrating automation in transport have been primarily technology-focussed, with insufficient consideration to how humans will interact with automated vehicles (AVs).  

SHAPE-IT aims to facilitate the safe, acceptable (and, ideally, desirable) integration of user-centred and transparent AVs into tomorrow’s mixed urban traffic environments, studying and modelling human behaviour to design advanced interfaces and control strategies.  

This PhD candidate (ESR09) will develop virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) methods to investigate the interaction between automated vehicles (AVs) and vulnerable road users (VRUs). Validity will be evaluated by comparing behaviour and perception in VR/AR to interactions with experimental vehicles.

He or she will develop and test, in VR, external HMIs (eHMI) that inform the VRU about the AV’s intentions. Accordingly, the candidate will advance knowledge about AV-VRU interaction on topics such as safety, expectancy, acceptance, and trust.


We are looking for candidates with a MSc in Mechanical Engineering or related fields, and having a strong interest in human factors and virtual reality.

Candidates cannot hold a doctorate degree, and should be within 4 years of obtaining their MSc qualification. Candidates are expected to undertake transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another). Hence, candidates can only apply for positions in countries where they have stayed less than 12 months during the last 3 years.

Salary Benefits:

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

TU Delft creates equal opportunities and encourages women to apply.

Work Hours:

38 hours per week


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