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Machine Learning Lead (Remote Friendly)

Software Engineering | Remote in Alameda, CA | Full Time

Job Description

About Us

At Saildrone, we sustainably explore, map, and monitor the oceans to understand, preserve, and protect our world. Saildrone provides real-time access to critical data from any ocean on earth, 24/7/365, and uses proprietary software applications to transform that data into actionable insights and intelligence. Saildrone’s fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), powered by renewable wind and solar power, have a minimal carbon footprint and operate 24/7/365, without the need for a crewed support vehicle. We work with governments, civil agencies, foundations, universities, and private companies around the globe to drive better information about our oceans and seas—from sailing drones into the eye of a Category 4 hurricane to obtain new scientific storm data, mapping the ocean floor, collecting new CO2 data in hard-to-reach areas, counting biomass to establish fishing quotas, or detecting and stopping illegal fishing and drug trafficking. As a result of our work, we have been included on Fast Company’s annual list of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022” and earned the 2022 Ocean Awards’ Innovation Award, presented by the Blue Marine Foundation. Saildrone’s hurricane mission was included as one of the New York Times "Top 21 Things that happened (for the first time) in 2021", and Popular Science's "100 Greatest Innovations of 2021".

We are based in Alameda, CA, with offices in Washington DC, St. Petersburg, FL, and Fall River, MA, and operate our missions worldwide. We are backed by top-tier investors in the frontier-tech and sustainability sectors, including Social Capital, Capricorn, Lux Capital, BOND Capital, and Emerson Collective. 

This is an exciting opportunity with a fast-growing team at the cutting-edge intersection of big data services and autonomous hardware. You will be an integral part of a high-performing multi-disciplinary delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.


The Role

As the Lead of the Machine Learning team you will oversee and grow a team of ML Engineers and ML Software Engineers to design, train, test and deploy models for machine learning applications that leverage our unique saildrone platforms and sensor suites. Example applications include visual and/or acoustic detection, localization and identification of marine traffic and marine wildlife, anomaly detection in oceanographic data measurements and improvement of raw sensor measurements. Sensors that you may work with include cameras, hydrophones, radars, bathymetric sensor suites, carbon sensors, anemometers, etc. You’ll work closely with teams designing and implementing sensor payloads on the vehicles to ensure sensor data quality and runtime performance of the models at sea. You will engage with data pipeline teams and external annotation partners to ensure proper preparation of training data. You will lead the design of our machine learning pipelines to make training, testing, and deploying models to drones a breeze.


  • Lead the Machine Learning team as we grow - driving decisions around new products, defining best practices for ML workflows, and implementing robust solutions.
  • Create new ML systems to solve challenging problems in perception, robotics and ocean science.
  • Develop and maintain workflows for training and evaluation of models in the cloud.
  • Develop software for running ML solutions on saildrones in the field as well as in the cloud.
  • Apply deep learning for identifying objects at sea like boats, birds, and mammals through visual imagery, radar, passive acoustics, etc.
  • Productionize and harden models for real-world applications.
  • Mentor and manage the team.
  • Work with a diverse set of teams to establish data recording and quality standards to enable machine learning solutions.


Required skills and experience

  • 5+ years of experience building, training and deploying machine learning products
  • 5+ years of Python experience
  • 2+ years of engineering leadership experience
  • Deep understanding of statistics and machine learning algorithms
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Masters or B.S. in relevant field and + 3 years relevant experience

Desired skills and experience

  • 3+ with PyTorch and/or other deep learning frameworks
  • 3+ with computer vision and camera systems
  • 2+ years of experience with cloud computing platforms and tools, AWS preferred
  • 2+ years of C++ experience
  • Experience with deployment to Nvidia chipsets for robotics, such as the AGX
  • Experience working in robotics or autonomous vehicle industries

Location: This position is remote friendly and based in Alameda, CA. Only candidates with proper permits to work in the United States can be considered.  Our waterfront office offers beautiful views of San Francisco Bay in always sunny Alameda. Even our walls have good karma, our offices mix software development with a hardware production line in the former airplane hangar used to film 'The Matrix'.


  • Medical, dental and vision plans for you and your dependents.
  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents
  • Enhanced Parental Leave Programs
  • Competitive benefits including excellent medical, life insurance, 401k plan


Catch up on the latest news about us:

An Unprecedented View Inside a Hurricane – EOS (May 6, 2022)

Meet the sailing robots trying to solve climate change – The Hill (Mar. 18, 2022)

They Sailed Into a Hurricane, Now these Unmanned Saildrones are Seeking Data on Our Carbon Uptake – CNN (Dec. 9, 2021)

Saildrone Catches a $100M C Breeze to Build More Robo-boats – TechCrunch (Oct. 18, 2021)

With A Sight, Sound And Radar Picture, Saildrone Could Build An AI Database Of Everything In The Ocean – Forbes (Aug. 16, 2021)

Changing Arctic Environment Could Also Change Technologies Needed to Protect It, Experts Say – SeaPower Magazine (Aug. 2, 2021)

Autonomous Research Vehicle Completes Ocean Crossing from San Francisco to Hawaii – Hydro International (July 13, 2021)

Saildrone Featured Videos Playlist


We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status.


In accordance with Saildrone’s mandatory employee COVID-19 vaccination policy, please be advised that all employees are required to be vaccinated and boosted to safeguard the health of our employees and their families, our customers and visitors and the community at large.


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.