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PhD opportunity at ESTACA/Cranfield

PhD opportunity at ESTACA/Cranfield

Improving Multirotor Reliability and Performance Using Switched Reluctance Machines
Partners: ESTACA – Campus Ouest, France & Cranfield University, United
Start Date: October 2018
Location: First 18 months will be based at ESTACA, Laval, France and the second 18 months at Cranfield University, UK
Overview and Aim: Unmanned multirotors (e.g. quadrotors) are increasingly being used for military and civilapplications. An important issue that potentially limits their applicability is reliability because
aircraft are safety critical systems. Multirotors are open loop unstable, hence maintaining
control of the vehicle relies on the actuator system; this being the motors for a multi-rotor
vehicle. Hence the reliability of the motor propulsion system is extremely important.
The two main advantages of fixed pitch multirotor vehicles are their mechanical simplicity and
low cost. Most craft use brushless motors for the motor drive, usually permanent magnet
motors. However, Switched Reluctance Machines (SRM) offer higher reliability than the
alternatives with the added advantage of lower cost and high efficiency. The disadvantages
are that they have a lower power density (important for weight sensitive applications) and
also have higher torque ripple.
The project aim is thus to improve the reliability and performance of multi-rotor air vehicle
systems by using SRMs for the propulsion system and determine the implication for the design
and operation of multirotor vehicles that use SRMs
Funding: UK/EU Rate Fees + UK National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 3 years
Start Date: October 2018
Candidate Requirements: Engineering Diploma, MSc/MEng or good BSc/BEng in
Engineering, Physics or Applied Mathematics with an interest in control systems, dynamics
and/or electrical machines. The PhD studies will be conducted in English.
Supervisors: Rabia Sehab (ESTACA) and James Whidborne (Cranfield University) with
assistance from Patrick Luk (Cranfield University) and Guillaume Krebs (SUPELEC/ Université
Enquiries: Contact James Whidborne ( and Rabia Sehab