A PhD on autonomous vehicles after International Master of Science

The Master of Science in Statistics for Smart Data at ENSAI opens the door to pursuing a PhD. Steven Golovkine decided to do just that and is working with Groupe Renault on self-driving cars.

He has only been a PhD student for a few weeks, but Steven already feels at home in his new environment: “Cutting-edge technology is everywhere in the automobile industry, and I am lucky to be working on such a strategic topic that will have a tremendous impact on our daily lives. It is very stimulating!” At Groupe Renault, he is working on classification methods for analysis of data produced by autonomous vehicles. To what end? “To make it possible for these vehicles to make the right decisions based on information saved by sensors, for example while entering a highway.” To make that possible, data must be easy for the vehicle to access and analyze, so classification is key to making the proper decision. The topic combines pure statistical methods, artificial intelligence, and massive amounts of data, “which is a good way of summarizing what we learn during the Master’s degree at ENSAI,” according to the young researcher. 


After studying Mathematics and Physics in one of France’s intense preparatory courses at the Lycée Georges Clémenceau in Reims, Steven became a Statistical Engineering student at ENSAI in 2014. At the end of his second year, after having completed a semester abroad at Aarhus University (Denmark) and a two-month internship at Colorado State University (USA), he decided to pursue the Master of Science in Big Data (today known as Master of Science in Statistics for Smart Data) to gain insight and training in dealing with massive amounts of data. This know-how was put to use during his end-of-studies internship at the Renault Technocentre in Guyancourt. “For six months, I worked on methods for big data analysis to validate driver assistance systems. I found the topic fascinating, which led me to pursue a PhD on autonomous vehicles.”

With his Master’s degree in hand, Steven returned to the Renault Technocentre last January, this time for three years. He will split his time between the center in Guyancourt and the CREST-ENSAI Research Laboratory, working with his thesis advisor Valentin Patilea (ENSAI) and co-advisor Nicolas Klutchnikoff (University of Rennes 2 – IRMAR Research Laboratory). “As a PhD student, I will expand my scientific knowledge while seeing how my research is being applied, which is a great way to start my career.”

More information on MSc in Statistics for Smart Data


ENSAI is jointly accredited to award the PhD via the Mathematics and Information and Communication Technology Doctoral School (MathSTIC). For more information on CIFRE PhDs: http://www.anrt.asso.fr

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