Accepting PhD Students

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    Personal profile


    Stewart A Birrell is a Professor of Human Factors for Future Transport within the National Transport Design Centre (ntdc) at Coventry University. He received his PhD in Ergonomics from Loughborough University, UK in 2007, and first-class degree in Sport Science in 2002. Stewart has spent the previous 15 years working within the transportation sector within industry and academia, with expertise ranging from driver behaviour and distraction, multimodal warnings, user state monitoring and information requirements – all underpinned by the design of in-vehicle information systems, and their evaluation using simulators, virtual reality (VR) and field operational trials. Currently, he applies innovative Human Factors Engineering methodologies to enable real-world and virtual evaluation of user interaction with Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV), Electric Vehicle (EV) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) technologies and services. Professor Birrell has over 100 journal and conference papers, book sections and articles published in his field to date, and is an Editor of the internationally renowned, Q1/4* journal IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.

    Research Interests

    Key Research Areas

    • Driver state monitoring and biometrics for adaptive interfaces
    • Information requirements for drivers / users in autonomous vehicles
    • Design of internal and external HMI for user trust in AVs
    • Motion sickness and its impact on driving performance
    • Driver behaviour and effect on real-world range of electric vehicles and wireless charging


    • Driver-in-the-loop simulator evaluation of new in-vehicle information systems and technologies
    • Field Operational Trials (FOTs) for benchmark and evaluation of user interaction with technology and driver behaviour / performance
    • Mixed modality virtual prototyping (physical buck enhanced with VR or AR)
    • User requirement capture and generation of functional requirements

    PhD Project

    Current Supervision of Doctorate Projects:

    Information requirements for automated vehicles

    • What information do people need and does this change over time and exposure to self-driving cars; multimodal warnings
    Effects of motion sickness on task completion
    • Most people get motion sick, what is the impact on driving-related tasks, and can speed up habituation to motion sickness
    Biometrics for Trust in autonomous vehicles
    • Trust is usually measured via subjectively, but are there physiological indicators which can use to infer trust in real-time
    Driver State Monitoring using wearables
    • Embedded or medical sensors are expensive, can we measure the driver state using consumer grade electronic devices (CED)


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