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Vehicle Operations Technician

Operations | 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.

About the Role

We are looking for a few good people to grow our Vehicle Operations team. You will be joining a talented, collaborative team at the forefront of exciting new ventures in the autonomous vehicle space. The key functions of this role include:

  • Drone deployment/retrieval in locations around the globe including remote locations
  • Logistics of shipping drones
  • Driving forklifts, lifting machines, crane operation
  • Creative problem solving on location, drone assembly, troubleshooting, coordination with Mission Control team
  • Excellent communicator, team player, budget conscious, adapt to issues in the field, deliver on schedule, and interact with customers (scientists, commercial)
  • Health and Safety conscious
  • Experience Driving 30+ ft twin-engine powerboat(s) with vehicles in tow, experience at sea
  • Sailing experience, a big plus


  • Assemble, QC check, test, and Commission drones at Saildrone HQ and while on remote deployments/retrievals
  • Water operations and maintenance of support vessel and all related marine operations equipment assistance - tenders, docks and launch tools (crane/forklift)
  • Operation and maintenance of Saildrone fleet assets, prototypes and associated instruments, sensors and equipment
  • Assistance with ocean testing and evaluation as well as integration support for internal & external customers
  • Pilot drones as needed
  • Assist with the coordination, development, and execution of the Saildrone Operator Training Program conducted both on-site and at remote locations worldwide  
  • Participate in and lead ongoing community outreach programs with local and regional partners
  • Operation and development of a Saildrone’s systems by providing valuable feedback to internal teams
  • Participate in customer demonstrations for VIPs, for both internal and external customers
  • Apply health, security, safety and environmental (HSSE) best practices in all operational work


  • 5-10 yrs minimum experience in marine engineering, marine operations, and leadership roles
  • BS in Mechanical, Electrical, Marine, or Ocean Engineering a plus,
  • Experience with marine technology, autonomous systems, and ocean robotics
  • Familiarity with maritime best practices
  • Highly motivated and organized self-starter
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Exposure with small companies or startups is ideal, an entrepreneurial spirit is essential
  • Ability to travel in the region and internationally as required
  • A love for the ocean and technology
  • 50% travel required


Location: 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.

  • 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.