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Next generation electric vehicles

Electric vehicles (EV’s) offer benefits through energy security, energy efficiency, low emissions and precision in their control, hence the great interest in this technology from industry, academia, government and regulators. With electrification comes increasing opportunities for on-board intelligent control measures to improve vehicle safety, comfort, energy conservation and environmental protection. And the use of electrical technology coupled with ‘electronic intelligence’ for improving vehicle safety, comfort, energy conservation and environmental protection may be considered as key factors to break the ‘bottle necks’ of EV’s marketization.

Technology will include in-wheel motors (IWMs) and supporting power electronics to enable all-wheel drive. Traction drive plus (regenerative) braking will form a single system, fully controlled by electronic/ electrical means.

The addition of a suspension mechanism and steering actuator then provides a set of ‘corner modules’ leading to a Full Drive-by-Wire (FDBW) vehicle platform which is the main focus of this research topic.

Your target is to test and evaluate advanced fully actuated electric vehicle technology which can achieve the status of a fast-growing disruptive technology through their inherent flexibility and modularity. This topic plans to improve the current EVs in both software and hardware structure, upgrading to maximize its benefits for safe, efficient and flexible transportation.

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for the above PhD topic please follow the steps below:

  1. Contact the supervisor by email or phone to discuss your interest and find out if you woold be suitable. Supervisor details can be found on this topic page. The supervisor will guide you in developing the topic-specific research proposal, which will form part of your application.
  2. Click on the 'Apply here' button on this page and you will be taken to the relevant PhD course page, where you can apply using an online application.
  3. Complete the online application indicating your selected supervisor and include the research proposal for the topic you have selected.

Good luck!

This is a self funded topic

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. See more information here: https://www.brunel.ac.uk/research/Research-degrees/Research-degree-funding. The UK Government is also offering Doctoral Student Loans for eligible students, and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Meet the Supervisor(s)


Dong Zhang - Dr. Dong Zhang is a Lecturer in Automotive Design in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He leads the research on intelligent vehicle & transportation control systems, and founds the Brunel Racing Formula Student AI group.  He obtained his Ph.D. degree in vehicle dynamic control from University of Lincoln in October 2019. His PhD thesis was titled with ''A systematic approach to cooperative driving systems based on optimal control allocation''. After this, he worked as a research fellow in Centre for System Intelligence and Efficiency; and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore from 2019 to 2020. During this period, his research was focusing to provide novel solutions to address the security challenges raised by intelligent and connected vehicles; and to develop a novel, integrated vehicle chassis control system for intelligent and automated electric vehicles (iAEVs). Before joining Brunel University London in 2021, he worked as a senior research project manager in scientific collaborative projects with car industry for developing the next-generation vehicle chassis control system. Dr. Zhang is welcoming and putting a special emphasis on the collaboration with car companies for developing human-centered automotive control systems and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).   Dr. Zhang's research interests strongly reside in the area of human-centered automotive control systems, intelligent vehicle/transportation control, game theory based driver-vehicle shared control systems, vehicle dynamic and safety control, adaptive vehicle motion control, and A.I based autonomous vehicle control. His research has resulted in more than thirty peer-reviewed papers in top journals and conferences, and about ten patents for invention.  Dr. Zhang has experience in co-supervising PhD students to completion. Please feel free to contact if you are seeking PhD opportunities in vehicle dynamic/safety control, intelligent vehicle /transportation control systems, A.I based autonomous vehicle control and driver-vehicle interaction.