The global market for unmanned and autonomous vehicles is expanding rapidly. This unique MSc aims to equip graduates and engineering professionals with the fundamental knowledge and enabling skills required to develop a successful career.
Who is it for?
Suitable for graduates in engineering, physics, or mathematics and aims to prepare you for an exciting career, ranging from being an autonomous systems engineer, design engineer or in an operations role.
Why this course?
We are unique in that we offer an MSc which covers a wide application within the autonomous vehicle industry. Achieving this highly sought after qualification with its strong industry links will enable you to differentiate yourself in today's competitive employment market.
This masters covers the fundamentals of autonomous vehicle design and control, whilst enabling you to specialise in appropriate subject areas via optional modules and an individual research project. This flexibility means that you may tailor the course to your own particular interests and career aspirations.
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 course is directed by an Industrial Advisory Board comprising senior industry professionals. This group meets twice a year and ensures that the course content equips students with the skills and knowledge required by their organisations. There are a number of opportunities for students to engage with these members throughout the year, building crucial rapport with future employers.
The Industry Advisory Board includes representatives from:
- Selex ES - Astrium - BAE Systems - Leica Geosystems - MBDA - Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASV) - European Aeronautics Defence and Space Company (EADS).
The taught course element consists of lectures in three areas: dynamics, control systems, and autonomous systems and technology. There are ten compulsory and eight optional modules. The MSc consists of two equally weighted components, taught modules and an individual research 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:
- Underwater 'station hold' for a ROV - Multi-sensor tracking and fusion for maritime surveillance - Adaptive flight control systems - UAV freighter aircraft cargo operations - Optimal tasking of mobile sensors to observe mobile targets.
Taught modules 50%, Individual research project 50%
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.
“Cranfield was a really good choice; I went to Vienna for my project due to Cranfield’s partnerships with other European University’s. I also got the opportunity to attend conferences across Europe, write reviews and contribute to my very first peer-reviewed scientific paper - which was well received! The staff were very supportive, in particular a lady from the Careers Service gave up her time to help prepare me for job interviews, which I found really helpful. Overall it’s a great environment in terms of access to other really intelligent interesting people. I think that’s a really nice part of being a student at Cranfield.”
"I believe my MSc was invaluable in preparing me for my current role – covering a broad range of subjects has been extremely useful when liaising with different departments. I got my job through the links Cranfield had with the company I’m currently working for, who were really impressed by the range of subjects covered as well as the detail and professionalism of my project.”
After researching online and looking at the Cranfield University website, I thought this was the right choice for me. It is the only stand-alone postgraduate university in the UK that specialises in aerospace and engineering and has a great heritage. I had also observed my colleagues in Nigeria who had studied at Cranfield and watched the meteoric rise in their careers. I saw the functions they could handle and how they had launched into global careers. I found my studies at Cranfield very rewarding – the lecturers give you comprehensive support to help you fully wrap your mind around your subject. Project supervisors are quite amazing too – they connect you into a group project and then with an industrial partner so that you can transform your theoretical knowledge into practical solutions to find the best outcome. This really prepares you for your future career. Cranfield is a place where you can do a lot! I got involved with the Cranfield Students Association (CSA) in the role of School Representative. This gave me an opportunity to see across the entire school and to see how teaching and non-teaching staff impact the student experience. The support the CSA offers is tremendous – everything to make a good social life and to balance out your academic work. There is an ultra-modern sports centre to keep you fit whilst studying and plenty of clubs and societies that you can get involved in. Cranfield is the right place to meet the right people in the right environment with the right contacts. The atmosphere is mature and professional and an ideal base to launch your global career. My advice to anyone who chooses Cranfield is to make use of all the opportunities it offers – embrace it all and make the most of it. You don’t just get a certificate when you graduate at Cranfield, you get a rewarding experience that will improve the quality of your life.
Why did you choose Cranfield?
The AVDC course is a good gateway into the world of Autonomous platforms. It covers all the required knowledge to design, model and control a remote intelligent vehicle for a variety of applications. The final thesis gives you the opportunity to gather all the acquired skills and apply them to a single project. Though I personally worked on multi-UAV control, the thesis can focus on anything from satellite image processing to underwater vehicle control as long as it highlights the need of an autonomous behaviour. Most projects also demand some hardware testing in order to apply your findings to a real life scenario.
Owen Connor, Control and Navigation Engineer
"Cranfield is a different kind of university. Its postgraduate-only make-up, and close connections with industry give the university a range of experiences, backgrounds and expertise which other universities are unable to match. I would recommend AVDC and the course to anyone."
Cranfield University is now able to offer you a more affordable way to study an MSc with loans managed by Prodigy Finance.With a Cranfield Postgraduate Loan it is possible for you to take up your MSc studies with no repayments while you study. This will leave you free to concentrate on your course and enhance your career prospects.Launched in February 2014, the scheme is designed to support UK and EU students entering postgraduate study and is intended to attract those who may not otherwise progress to this level because of financial constraints.Loans of up to £15,000 are available (dependent on the tuition fees for your chosen course). If you are a UK student, loans are available for tuition fees and maintenance. EU students can apply for a loan covering only tuition fees.Loans are repaid over a seven year period and repayments start six months after you complete your degree. As a not-for-profit scheme, funded by Cranfield and HEFCE, the loans are competitively priced (6.92% APR representative) and considerably more affordable than a standard career development loan.
Value of Scholarship(s)
Loans of up to £15,000 total
You can apply for a loan if you:• are domiciled in the UK or EU and qualify for ‘Home/EU’ fees and • have an admissions offer to a Cranfield full-time, taught MSc course in a STEM (Science, Technology Engineering or Mathematics) subject
If you already have an applicable course offer you can apply online through Prodigy Finance. You will need to provide Prodigy Finance with details of your offer from Cranfield. Your loan application will be considered and responded to within a few days.
If you are yet to secure an offer of a place you can register your interest in the scheme and we will keep you up-to-date.