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  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    See website for details

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    25 October 2018

Course content

The global market for aerial, ground, and marine Autonomous Vehicles has grown rapidly due to the advent of drones and driverless cars. Defence, Aerospace, Automotive, and Marine Industries seek graduates conversant in key aspects of Autonomy including: dynamics & control, guidance & navigation, decision making, sensor fusion, data & information fusion, communication & and networking. These durable and transferrable skills are the bedrock of this unique MSc course whose content has been based on advice from the Industrial Advisory Board, comprising the relevant Industrial representatives from Big Primes to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Who is it for?

The Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control MSc is a unique course for graduates in engineering, physics, or mathematics wishing to acquire durable and transferrable skills in Autonomous Vehicles to pursue career opportunities in Defence, Aerospace, Automotive, and Marine Industries.

Why this course?

We are unique in that we offer a combination of subjects much sought after in the Autonomous Vehicle Industry and not covered in a single MSc course anywhere else. Successful graduates of our MSc course become conversant in key aspects of Autonomy which advantageously differentiates them in today's competitive employment market

The Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control MSc course begins with the fundamentals of autonomous vehicle dynamics and control, and progresses to the core subjects of guidance & navigation, decision making, sensor fusion, data & information fusion, communication & and networking. A choice of optional modules allows individual tailoring of these subjects to specialise in appropriate subject areas.

The taught part of the course is followed by Individual Research Projects (IRPs) and the topic of each of the IRPs is provided by one of the member of the Industrial Advisory Board. The real-world relevance of the IRP topics is another unique feature of our MSc course and can be another effective differentiator in the job market.

This course is also available on a part-time basis enabling you to combine studying with full-time employment. This is enhanced by a three-stage programme from a Postgraduate Certificate, to a Postgraduate Diploma through to an MSc.

Informed by Industry

The relevant, competent and pro-active Industrial Advisory Board includes:

  • BAE Systems
  • Airbus Defence & Space
  • Thales UK
  • Leonardo
  • Raytheon UK
  • Lockheed Martin UK
  • Boeing UK (Phantom Works)
  • UTC Aerospace Systems
  • QinetiQ
  • Spirent Communications
  • Tekever
  • MASS Consultants
  • Plextek
  • Stirling Dynamics
  • RaceLogic

who not only continuously advise on updating the course content but also provide topics for Individual Research Projects (IRPs). After the final oral exams in early September, all students present posters summarising their IRPs to the whole Industrial Advisory Board thus exposing their work to seasoned professionals and potential employers. The IRPs benefit from our own lab where real autonomous vehicles can be designed and tested.


Accreditation is being sought for the MSc in Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control from the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Course details

The taught course element consists of lectures in three areas: dynamics, control systems, and autonomous systems and technology. The MSc consists of two equally weighted components, taught modules and an individual research project.

Individual project

Our industry partners sponsor individual research projects allowing you to choose a topic that is commercially relevant and current. Topics are chosen during the first teaching period in October and you begin work during the second half of the MSc course (May - August). The project allows you to delve deeper into an area of specific interest, taking the theory from the taught modules and joining it with practical experience.

Projects encompass various aspects of operations, not only concerned with design but including payloads, civil applications, system, sensors and other feasibility studies industry wishes to explore.

For the duration of the project, each student is assigned both a university and industry supervisor. In recent years, students have been based at sponsor companies for sections of their research and have been given access to company software/facilities.

During the thesis project all students give regular presentations to the course team and class, which provides an opportunity to improve your presentation skills and learn more about the broad range of industry sponsored projects.

Previous projects have included:


Taught modules 50%, Individual research project 50%. Please note: Modules for this course are under review, to incorporate the latest advice from the Industrial Advisory Board.

Your career

The industry-led education makes Cranfield graduates some of the most desirable all over the world for recruitment by companies competing in the autonomous vehicle market including:

  • BAE Systems
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
  • MBDA
  • Other companies from our Industrial Advisory Board.

Graduates from this course will be equipped with the advanced skills which could be applied to the security, defence, marine, environmental and aerospace industries. This approach offers you a wide range of career choices as an autonomous systems engineer, design engineer or in an operations role, at graduation and in the future. Others decide to continue their education through PhD studies available within Cranfield University or elsewhere.

Visit the Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control MSc page on the Cranfield University website for more details!






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