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Embedded Software Engineering lead

Software Engineering | Alameda, CA | Full Time

Job Description

About Saildrone

Saildrone designs and manufactures wind and solar-powered autonomous surface vehicles called saildrones, which make cost-effective ocean data collection possible at scale. We are busy building the world's largest high-resolution ocean datasets, working with governments and private companies around the globe. We believe that better inputs in planetary models in turn yield better outputs and that the new insights gained in weather forecasting, carbon cycling, global fishing and climate change will have a tremendous impact on humanity. We are based in Alameda, CA and are backed by Social Capital, The Capricorn Investment Group, Lux Capital and The Schmidt Family Foundation.

About the Role

Our Saildrone vehicles operate in one of the harshest environments on the planet, sending back consistent, high-quality data, on extreme duration missions.

We are in search of an energetic, dynamic and experienced Embedded Software Engineer to join our drone R&D team. In this role, you will be part of a talented, collaborative group at the forefront of exciting new ventures in the autonomous vehicle space. The Embedded Software Engineer will reside within our Hardware and Embedded Engineering team and will work on scaling the Saildrone hardware platforms. They will work closely with engineering teams across the company to build highly accurate, low latency, and dependable systems.  


  • Design embedded software framework, hardware, and systems
    • Write design documents for re-design and evolution of our core embedded software stack that runs on MCUs throughout the drones.
    • Design clean, layered, and testable embedded software to run on MCUs and our main embedded computers.
    • Collaborate with electrical and mechanical engineers on design of new embedded controllers, actuators, and sensors for drones.
  • Implement embedded software on bare-metal MCUs and Linux embedded computers.
    • Write code, unit tests, and integration tests for embedded software running on bare-metal MCUs throughout the drone and on our main embedded Linux computers (C/C++).
    • Bring up new sensors and devices.
  • Implement software for design validation and end of line testing for custom components and sensors.
    • Write testing software for R&D, design validation, and end of line testing for computers and sensors designed in house and for system integration of components (Python/C++).
  • Provide leadership for small team of embedded software engineers.
    • Act as technical lead, and optionally as manager, for small team of embedded software engineers.
    • Manage technical priorities and roadmap for delivering required functionality and evolving core embedded systems frameworks.


  • Undergraduate degree in CS or Computer Engineering
    • or EE with some CS/CE overlap
  • Demonstrated experience developing C/C++ embedded software on Linux and bare-metal/RTOS driven MCUs.
  • Basic electronics troubleshooting (multimeter, o'scope)
  • Familiarity with Linux environment and with basic embedded software tools (JTAG/GDB/cross compilers).

Preferred Experience

  • 5+ years of software development in C/C++ for Linux and/or MCUs (bare-metal or RTOS).
  • 2+ years of software development with Python or other hardware testing languages (LabView, Matlab).
  • Experience as technical lead of small to mid-sized (2-10+) software development teams.
  • Experience with CAN bus / NMEA2000 systems.
  • Solar power conversion
  • Lithium battery management
  • GPS-aided inertial navigation
  • Demonstrated responsibility for maintaining a well-organized work environment
  • High standards of quality, detailed process and workflow.
  • A passion for Saildrone's mission


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents
  • Healthy lunch program provided onsite
  • Active sailing classes: become a certified skipper on boats up to 35ft!
  • Fun team activities including our famous monthly social taxiway BBQ
  • Waterfront office, in the former airplane hangar that was once used to film 'The Matrix'
  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents (reverse traffic commute!)
  • Enhanced paternity/maternity programs
  • Competitive benefits including discounted gym, life insurance, 401k plan

This is an exciting new opportunity to drive your function at a fast-growing post series-B startup at the cutting-edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of an A+ multi-disciplinary team scaling a high-performance business while delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.

Our waterfront office offers beautiful views over San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Your commute could be a short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mix manufacturing and software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar that was once used to film 'The Matrix'.

You can read what the press says about us:

NOAA West Coast Fisheries Survey
Follow the Saildrone
White Shark Voyage Wrap Up

Or watch the Saildrone mission being presented the TED stage


SAILDRONE is an EOE that empowers our people—no matter their race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or veteran status—to fearlessly drive change.


Any unsolicited resumes/candidate profiles submitted through our website or to personal email accounts of employees of Saildrone are considered property of Saildrone and are not subject to payment of agency fees.