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Software Engineer - Perception

Software Engineering | Alameda, CA | Full Time

Job Description

About Us:

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 working with governments, civic agencies, foundations, universities, and private companies around the globe to drive better information about our oceans and seas - be it in mapping out 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 trafficking. 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 tremendous impact on humanity. We are based in Alameda, CA and are backed by Social Capital, The Capricorn Investment Group, Lux Capital, Horizons Venture and The Schmidt Family Foundation.

The Role

Saildrone uses an onboard perception system for ocean monitoring and navigational safety.  Using a combination of machine vision, radar, acoustic and AIS data, our worldwide fleet of drones perceives the world in real-time to combat illegal fishing and safely sail through crowded seas.  Ocean-going drones present a unique challenge for high-performance perception: our fleet is solar and wind powered, and can be deployed for up to one year without returning to port. These challenges make efficient algorithms a must and require thoughtful over-the-air deployment strategies.  We’re looking for a top-notch perception engineer to take on these unique challenges. 

Key responsibilities: 

This engineer will have responsibilities throughout the entire perception stack - from developing specifications for new hardware designs, to working with front-end engineers to display sensor information to pilots. 

  • Develop perception and tracking algorithms to fuse data from cameras, radars and other sensors.   

  • Write efficient, well-tested C++ code 

  • Test, evaluate and integrate new sensor hardware into our perception system. 

  • Work with ML engineers to implement and deploy new models on the drone. 

  • Develop and maintain large-scale perception and ML regression tests to aid rapid software development, evaluate performance. 

  • Work with platform and UI engineers to display useful sensor information to enable safe vehicle piloting. 

Required Skills

  • Experienced with C++ 

  • Proficient in algorithm design and a desire to solve challenging robotics problems
  • MS, PhD in a related field 
  • 1 + years professional experience

Desired Skills

  • Hands-on experience with computer vision systems, online state estimation, sensor fusion and machine learning.
  • Experience with autonomous robots  
  • Experience with OpenCV, TensorRT  
  • Experience with Python


This position is 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
  • Active sailing classes: become a certified skipper on boats up to 35ft!  (once COVID safety allows)
  • Short and relaxing ferry ride from the Ferry Building for SF residents
  • Enhanced paternity / maternity programs
  • Competitive benefits including excellent medical, discounted gym, life insurance, 401k plan

This is an exciting opportunity with 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 a high-performing multi-disciplinary delivering high impact for humanity and future generations.

You can read the latest about us:

Saildrone is an equal opportunity workplace dedicated to pursuing and hiring a diverse workforce.

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.