Meet Rui Oliveira, industry-employed Ph.D. student in WASP
This spring, four industry-employed PhD-students were recruited to the Wallenberg Autonomous Systems Program (WASP) at KTH. One of them is Rui Filipe De Sousa Olivera who, beside his new position at KTH, is employed at Scania.
Hi there, Rui Filipe De Sousa Oliveira! You are a new industry-employed Ph.D. student within WASP, congratulations!
– Thank you! I am very happy to start this new stage of my education, and also glad to be a part of the WASP project, the largest research project in Sweden at the moment.
Tell us a little bit more about your background.
– I’m originally from Portugal, where I started studying Electrical Engineering at Técnico Lisboa. Near the end of my studies I had the opportunity to go abroad and do my master thesis at KTH in Autonomous Driving, and I immediately accepted it! I really enjoyed working here so after my master thesis, I decided to continue with KTH as a research engineer. For the past year I have been working at the Smart Mobility Lab where we are developing solutions for autonomous driving and flight.
You are an industry-employed Ph.D. student hired by both KTH and Scania, what does that mean?
– Just like any other Ph.D. student at KTH I will focus on solving problems that are relevant and at the forefront of scientific innovation. My employment at Scania gives an extra focus on the real world applications of my research.
This type of industry employment is beneficial for KTH, as it helps focus the research and knowledge creation in critical areas that are in high demand by the industry. It is also beneficial for Scania as it eases the sometimes difficult and slow transition of knowledge from academia to industry.
Personally, this is very exciting for me, as it means that my research will soon be available in real life applications, and there is nothing more rewarding for a scientist than to see his/hers experiments at work!
Your research has the title: “Planning for real-time decision and control in complex dynamic situations”. What does that mean? Could you tell us a little bit more about what you are going to do?
– It is a very long and evasive title in the hopes of not restricting the research into a specific topic or subject. In practice my research will focus on Planning Algorithms for Autonomous Driving in Urban Environments. I will be developing intelligent algorithms that will know how to drive in city roads together with other human drivers and road users. This is something that is already being explored by some big companies, one such example is the Google Self-Driving Car Project. A big difference however, is that I will be focusing my research in heavy vehicles, such as buses and trucks, which present many more challenges, as they are much harder to drive and maneuver than normal cars. Hopefully in five years, when I finish my Ph.D., I'll be able to go home on bus number 50, which will be driven by a computer I helped program!