Job Listings

Research Associate

Virginia Tech
Job Location:
Blacksburg, Virginia
Laboratory and Research

Job Description

There are jobs. Then there are careers that foster you to be a force for good in the world. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) is a world-leading safety research center working with car companies, suppliers, and government agencies to bring about the safe development and deployment of automated vehicles on our roadways. Transportation is under transformation, so every day we are approaching problems differently to make a difference in the world (

VTTI seeks qualified ambitious research engineers interested in answering complex questions surrounding automated vehicle systems. The candidate should have an aptitude for framing research questions involving human and vehicle factors and leveraging data analysis tools and techniques to answer those questions. The candidate should be an experienced engineer capable of working independently and with multidisciplinary teams to improve transportation safety through cutting-edge research.

As a Research Associate, this opening is pursuing applicants that demonstrate experience and skills in transportation human factors, programming and basic statistics including experimental design. This position is expected to focus predominantly on driver support systems including autonomous vehicle systems.

Research projects range from small test-track experiments using a single next-generation vehicle to large naturalistic studies involving hundreds of vehicles on live roadways. The research often features data acquisition systems to unobtrusively collect various sensor elements with the aim of characterizing the roadway, vehicle, and driver performance. These measures and robust data sets are analyzed to address specific research questions that tend to focus on the characterization of existing transportation problems (e.g. crash causation) and/or the performance/development of advanced vehicle systems (e.g. crash avoidance technology).

Experience with vehicle systems, signal processing, and data analysis tools is preferred. The applicant must be comfortable and proficient in an environment where each project has some commonalities with previous efforts but poses many new challenges to solve.

Duties and responsibilities:

Organize customer needs into feasible open-road experiments, test track experiments, or analysis of large scale naturalistic driving databases as is appropriate, Apply fundamental physics and engineering concepts to quantify driving situations particularly related to safety, Develop program code for robust distillation of sensor and questionnaire data into informative summary dat, Conduct routine data analysis and determine the accuracy and completeness of the data collected, Develop analysis code to process vehicle measures (e.g., accelerations, yaw, range to other vehicles) and describe events and alternative outcomes, Write well documented, concise, and reliable code to perform various analysis tasks and subtasks of larger analyses, Generate graphical and tabular summaries of large quantities of analyzed data, Oversee instrumentation of vehicles to support research need, Coordinate research support activities including video reduction tasks and recruiting, Execute appropriate statistical analyses for different research applications, Oversee the daily operations of a project including schedule and budget maintenance, Write proposals and statements of work, Interface directly with sponsors to understand requirements and deliver technical presentations, Travel to research sites (requirement fluctuates but will generally be <25%, Research and compose literature review, Compose, review, and critique reports and research plan, Present research findings

Directions given and received:
Receive instructions on project objectives, feedback on proposed research plans, and project logistics from principal investigators, project managers and team members. Will supervise or coordinate the work of graduate research assistants, technicians, and others who assist in specific assignments.

Required Qualifications

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering or Electrical and Computer Engineering, Human Factors Engineering, Experimental and Human Factors Psychology, or similar fields. Candidates with a lesser degree and relevant experience in lieu of master's degree will also be considered, Demonstrated experience and interest in programming. Demonstrated experience in transportation or related field, Working knowledge of mechanical engineering/engineering physics principle, Ability to lead project teams and oversee project schedule, budgets, and deliverables, Demonstrated strong writing and organizational skills, Solid understanding of engineering principles needed to analyze, verify, and interpret work, Proficient in data processing and analysis. Must have a valid driver's license.

Preferred Qualifications

MATLAB programming experience is preferred, Machine Learning/Deep Learning/Artificial Intelligence background preferred, Database programming preferred, Motorcycle familiarity preferred, Motorcycle license/endorsement preferred.

Appointment Type


Salary Information

$60,000 - $75,000, commensurate with experience

Review Date


Additional Information

The successful candidate will be required to have a criminal conviction check.

About Virginia Tech

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech pushes the boundaries of knowledge by taking a hands-on, transdisciplinary approach to preparing scholars to be leaders and problem-solvers. A comprehensive land-grant institution that enhances the quality of life in Virginia and throughout the world, Virginia Tech is an inclusive community dedicated to knowledge, discovery, and creativity. The university offers more than 280 majors to a diverse enrollment of more than 36,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in eight undergraduate colleges, a school of medicine, a veterinary medicine college, Graduate School, and Honors College. The university has a significant presence across Virginia, including the Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia; the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke; sites in Newport News and Richmond; and numerous Extension offices and research centers. A leading global research institution, Virginia Tech conducts more than $500 million in research annually.

Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, sex (including pregnancy), gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or military status, or otherwise discriminate against employees or applicants who inquire about, discuss, or disclose their compensation or the compensation of other employees or applicants, or on any other basis protected by law.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Natalie Jett atnjett@vtti.vt.eduduring regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.

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