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The Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre NLR offers a great opportunity together with the TU/e. Interested in urban air mobility and the perception of noise? This PhD position might be your opportunity! As the project is hosted by NLR, all information and application details can be found at their website.


The objective of this study is to enable the scientific enhancement of knowledge on aircraft noise perception in urban areas. New aerospace concepts like Urban Air Mobility (UAM) introduce air taxi’s and delivery drones in cities that are densely populated. Current noise models only consider a free propagation path from the sound source towards the observer. In urban environments, complex urban structures generate an acoustical environment that requires sophisticated noise modelling between the source and the observer. This work will identify the true perceptual impact of UAM noise in cities and help to find solutions to reduce noise impact, by e.g. looking at building constructions or materials, looking at what sound sources from the aircraft should be addressed, or what operations should be optimized for noise reduction.

Project description

The candidate will focus on the urban environment and develop a model to predict the frequency dependent noise levels due to Urban Air Mobility vehicles in these areas. These models will not only provide intensity of sound, but also the frequency spectrum and influence of phase differences, as to mimic the real perception as close as possible. This will result in monaural sound levels for noise impact assessment and binaural time signals for being used in Virtual Reality (VR) technology as NLR’s Virtual Community Noise Simulator (VCNS). The resulting model can therefore both be used for both perception studies or evaluations to better understand how aircraft noise propagates within a city.

A validation study of this model is key in the development and consists of objective and subjective comparisons. For this purpose, a measurement campaign in a suitable urban area will take place, or at a specific controlled test-site such as NLR’s (MITC) “DigiCity” urban city mock-up initiative. As for the subjective comparison, VR experiences based on predicted and measured noise will be compared. Based on these findings, some practical use cases will be worked out to improve perception studies (e.g. using the VCNS) and to demonstrate how noise mitigation measures could be developed in urban environments.


  • Master’s degree in (Building) Acoustics, Physics, Aerospace engineering or an equivalent study
  • A team player and ability to work autonomously
  • Good communication skills for spoken and written English. Knowledge of Dutch is desirable but not mandatory