Jamie Roche, PhD researcher

Jamie, from Ireland, is a PhD student at Loughborough University London studying under the Institute for Digital Technologies. Prior to his studies at Loughborough, Jamie studied at several universities across Ireland leading to his current PhD specialisation.

What country are you from?


Under which institute are you studying your PhD?

Institite for Digital Technologies.

What is the full title of your PhD?

Synchronising Sensor Data from Autonomous Vehicles over a wireless network.

Please give a brief synopsis of what you are researching and why.

Driverless vehicle technology is currently being developed and tested around the world. Automakers, technology companies, and research companies are amongst the many stakeholders investing in this vehicular revolution.

The technology and sensors that make self-driving cars possible already impact the way we drive. The first steps towards hands-free driving have been taken by advancements like Parking Assist by VW and Parktronic by Mercedes-Benz. One area that appears to have been overlooked is networking autonomous vehicles. Networking of such vehicles could be seen as introducing another layer into an already complex system. Elements like security would of course be a concern as they are with so many emerging technologies. However, there are multiple benefits to balance those concerns, such as improved road user safety.

One key concern, for road users, pedestrians and cyclists alike, is safety. For cyclists and pedestrians, synchronised sensor data from autonomous vehicles would greatly assist in accident prevention. Research has shown that high collision numbers occur at signal-controlled junctions with obstructed visibility. Networking the output from sensors would enable autonomous vehicles to create a real-time virtual map of the road. Combining sensor outputs (LIDAR, Near Field Vision, Radar, GPS, Ultrasonic Rangefinders) from several cars would reduce the possibility of cyclists or pedestrians emerging undetected into the path of a vehicle.

Who are your academic supervisors?

Professor Ahmet Kondoz and Dr. Varuna De-Silve.

Why did you choose Loughborough University London to undertake your PhD?

I was looking for a growing university with links to the technologies market, and specialising in the area of digital technologies.

Tell us about your academic background.

  • DEng in Process control & Instrumentation from Carlow Institute Of Technology (Ireland)
  • BEng. in Mechatronics from Dublin City University (Ireland)
  • MSc in Bioengineering from Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)
  • MSc in Mobile Internet from Loughborough University London

What attracted you to your chosen research field?

I am very interested in the emerging field of Internet of Things and its applications to everyday life.

What research have you completed so far?

Most recently I was researching into a non-intrusive method of measuring excitement. This area of research was undertaken during my Masters with Loughborough University London. The aim of the research was to identify excitement through an elevated heart rate, blood pressure and galvanic skin response.

Prior to that I had been working as a consulting forensic engineer with Denis Wood and Associates. Primarily I was providing detailed analysis for road traffic accidents and failure mechanics, through scene surveys, vehicle examinations, data accumulation, witness statements, site specific and computer aided simulations, statistical & mathematical analysis, in preparation for expert witnesses, detailed forensic reports, and insurance claims on a case specific basis. As part of my time with Denis Wood and Associates we preformed constant research and produced numerous papers under the Denis Wood and Associates banner.

During my time in Trinity College Dublin I was working on a method of improving orthostatic hypotension in patients with autonomic failure. The aim of the research was to identify when an individual was about to fain and prevent it by applying abdominal pressure.

Describe a day in the life of a PhD student.

The day-to-day life of a PhD student is not too dissimilar to that of any other student. I arrive into the university in the morning and work on the current tasks at hand. Tasks usually take the form of compiling a poster, paper or a review of a series of work. I usually meet with my supervisor once a week and have a catch up about my findings and the direction I am heading in.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I am lucky that my hobby and my work are closely related. For many years now I have been interested in engineering, mechanics, electronics and programming embedded controllers. In Ireland, I was involved in the setup of a social enterprise that's largely focussed on different application for these embedded controllers and how they can benefit communities. Of course I have different interests such as reading and kayaking and traveling but if I was to list everything I would probably run out of space.

How would you describe the research community on campus?

Young and flourishing.

What advice would you give to prospective PhD students looking to study at Loughborough University London?

Follow your interests and what you like doing.