Jobs & Internships


Robotics Software Engineer


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for a Robotics Engineer to join the Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department. The position is a regular, full-time, exempt position eligible for benefits. The level of this role will be determined by the selected candidates level of education and experience. The candidate will be hired into a Engineer II or Research Engineer role.

Looking for a little more adventure and challenge in your career? How about designing equipment to work while submerged at 10,000 psi or fixing your mistakes in the dark on a moving ship north of the Arctic Circle? Want to work on cutting edge underwater robots for both scientific and military applications? Want to live in a unique mid-size town with great open space, amazing ocean access, and a cost of living way below other technology centers? Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a world leader in autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) technology. Not only do we design and build some of the most unique and advanced vehicles in the world, but we take everything we build into the field and test it in the crucible of the ocean. We are looking for not only a jack of all trades, but also a master of some who can make unique contributions within the group.

Candidates will work primarily within the VAST (various autonomous subsea technologies) group within the Deep Submergence lab but will have opportunities to cross pollinate into other projects within the Deep Submergence Lab, the National Deep Submergence Facility, and other vehicle groups at WHOI. Members of the team all spend time both in the office/lab and in the field and tend to take designs from concept all the way to the field. Field operations within the group tend to be focused on testing but in the broader lab missions also include science, exploration, and disaster response with VAST members often taking part in these other activities.

The VAST group is involved in a large number of (primarily) federally funded projects aimed at improving human robot interaction, deploying AUVs in novel environments, and application of AUV technologies to other pressing problems. The current mix is approximately 70% defense related projects and 30% science and exploration related projects so candidates must be comfortable and preferably enthusiastic about the defense mission, US citizens, and able to obtain a security clearance if requested.

This group values work life balance with reasonably flexible work hours, generous annual and cruise leave policies and a universal sense of adventure. However, a significant commitment to success of the program and the mission will be required during crunch time particularly while at sea. This is a group that is known for going to extreme measures to make a cruise succeed even in the face of significant setbacks and any long term part of the group will need to have the same attitude. Candidates must be highly creative when it's time to be creative but must be able to become highly focused and effective as deadlines approach. The ship will sail whether the vehicle is ready or not.

Appointment will either be at the Engineer II or Research Engineer level depending on education and experience.

Engineer II:

With some supervision to achieve assigned objectives, identifies and participates in engineering projects in support of scientific and research activities through the demonstration of one or more specialized skills. Will be expected to work on tasks requiring creativity and independent thinking, along with a proven understanding of fundamental research and engineering principles.

Research Engineer:

With little supervision, works creatively and independently to establish objectives, meet deadlines, and complete difficult engineering assignments by demonstrating full competency in one or more engineering areas; assists substantively in planning technical aspects of experiments, as well as design, testing, and use of major system components.

Essential Functions

This position is a software engineering position with design, build, and troubleshooting responsibilities.

Specific tasks include but are certainly not limited to:

  • Develop soft real time control code, communications code, GUIs and other code for AUV operations
  • Develop data post processing tools
  • Develop software relevant to a variety of other funded research projects
  • Support field operations and testing
  • As deemed necesary by the supervisor

Medium term career potential includes:

  • The potential to work with more senior staff to propose your own ideas to funding agencies
  • The potential to manage small to medium projects
  • The opportunity to specialize in a technical area

Education & Experience

Engineer II:

  • Minimum of a BS in Computer Science or Engineering, MS or PhD preferred. Undergraduate degrees may be in any engineering discipline provided that subsequent experience justifies qualification for the job.

Research Engineer:

  • Minimum of a BS in Computer Science or Engineering, a MS or PhD preferred. Advanced degrees, and in particular PhDs will ideally have a computer science or robotics focus. Highly experienced candidates with a decade or more of closely related experience may be considered with no degree.

Both Levels:

All candidates will need a minimum of 3-5 years of software experience in a closely related field such as Robotics, AI, ML, Perception, etc.

  • General experience with robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence or perception is strongly desired.
  • Prior experience with C++ is strongly desired. Baring experience with C++, candidates will need to demonstrate extensive experience with another object oriented language including inheritance.
  • Prior experience with ROS is strongly desired.
  • Prior experience in medium to large scale projects consisting of tens to hundreds of thousands of lines of code and 5-10+ developers is highly desired.
  • Prior experience with Linux in desktop, embedded and/or server applications is strongly desired.
  • Basic Electrical/Electronic debug skills are desired but not required.
  • Prior experience with integration of COTS peripherals into code is desired.
  • Prior experience with revision control systems is desired.
  • Prior experience with data processing in sci-py or matlab is desired.
  • Prior experience with acoustic or other oceanographic data is desired.

Prior experience with GUI programming (ideally QT) is desired.

Special Requirements

  • Must have a valid drivers license, must be a US Citizen, must be able to obtain a TWIC and a DOD SECRET clearance.
  • Must be able and willing to work on DOD projects

Physical Requirements

Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.

Sea Duty

May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.

To Apply: