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Vehicle Software Team Lead and Manager

Software Engineering | Hybrid in Alameda, CA | Full Time | From $190,000.00 to $210,000.00 per year

Job Description

About Us

At Saildrone, we sustainably explore, map, and monitor the oceans to understand, protect, and preserve our world. We provide real-time access to critical data from any ocean on earth, 24/7/365, and use proprietary software applications to transform that data into actionable insights and intelligence. Our fleet of uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), powered by renewable wind and solar power, have a minimal carbon footprint and operate without the need for a crewed support vessel. Saildrone works with governments, civil agencies, foundations, universities, and private companies around the globe to drive better information about our oceans and seas—from sailing into the eye of a category 4 hurricane to obtain new data about how storms intensify, collecting new CO2 data in hard-to-reach areas, and counting fish biomass to inform sustainable fishery management, to mapping the ocean floor and reducing illegal fishing and drug trafficking. As a result of our work, Saildrone has been included on Fast Company’s annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, earned an Ocean Awards’ Innovation Award, won Best Tech For Good from the Timmy Awards, and was recognized by Andreessen Horowitz’s American Dynamism 50 list of the Top 50 Companies Kickstarting American Renewal. Our first-annual Atlantic hurricane mission with NOAA was included as one of The New York Times’ 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 and St. Petersburg, FL, and operate our missions worldwide. Saildrone is 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 Engineering Manager of Vehicle Software, you will directly lead the team responsible for our on-board vehicle systems and information transmission software. You will work with your team and engineering leadership to execute a vehicle systems software roadmap in alignment with other software and firmware teams, hardware teams and business objectives. The scope of the vehicle systems software encompasses:

  • on-board control of core hardware and software systems
  • logging and relay of information into the data pipeline up to the cloud
  • integration of new hardware components and monitoring, in collaboration with firmware and hardware teams
  • reporting of vehicle health and status


  • Work with your team and engineering leaders and other technical and non-technical stakeholders to develop a high quality on-board software stack.
  • Review and ensure quality design of on-board software components that align to a consistent architectural approach.
  • Utilize your engineering management skills to plan and execute along a roadmap defined by business objectives and informed by rigorous engineering design.
  • Ensure software releases are delivered on time and meet the established quality standards.
  • Work with our technical program management team to align work to schedules and ensure delivery.
  • Communicate in a friendly, supportive manner with engineers or other stakeholders, ensuring alignment and advocating for effective solutions.
  • Engage with cross-functional teams of product managers, technical program managers, technical leads, hardware engineers, software engineers and infrastructure engineers.
  • Mentor and facilitate career development for individual contributors.
  • Work with engineering leadership to define and measure success of the vehicle systems software stack using rigorous key performance metrics.
  • Drive and support a culture of rigorous design and test around software features.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Bachelors or Masters degree in electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, or other related field plus relevant experience.
  • 3-5+ years of experience in software engineering, most of those in embedded, realtime software, robotics, working with sensors, actuators, motors, engines, etc.
  • 1-3+ years hands-on experience in complex real-time software engineering management, including technical team leadership, scheduling, and resource planning, ideally within a robotics product context.
  • Technical knowledge of writing software for real time operating systems, robotic systems, and data formats such as ROS, ROS2, protobuf, and MCAP
  • Dedicated servant leader, able to provide clear priorities, and be hands on as needed to ensure successful delivery.
  • Experience building alignment and excitement around projects.
  • Knowledge of software processes to produce sustainable and maintainable code.
  • Good verbal and written communication skills.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Experience with engineering management in a scrum agile methodology.
  • Ability to review and occasionally get hands-on in C, C++ and python if needed
  • Experience working with automated regression testing rigs, such as hardware-in-the-loop.
  • Experience with messaging queueing and pub/sub technologies such as zmq
  • Familiar with a variety of serial hardware interfaces (UART, SPI, I2C, etc.), low level RTOS such as FreeRTOS, and CAN protocols
  • Familiarity with data or networking protocols such as gRPC, Kinesis/Kafka streams, TCP, and UDP
  • A basic understanding of schematics and how they relate to firmware implementations
  • Experience reviewing hardware and offboard software designs (example: schematics, UI design), and translating the impacts on onboard software

Physical Requirements

  • Work is performed on a computer and requires ability to operate a keyboard and other peripheral devices.

Please note: We are interested in speaking with candidates that have diverse backgrounds and perspectives. If you don't meet all the criteria above but are excited about the position, we encourage you to apply. Nobody checks all the boxes; we are looking for someone with passion and drive who is excited for a challenge.

Location: This position is a hybrid role in Alameda, CA. 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

A reasonable estimate of the current range is $190,000-$210,000 annually.

Catch up on the latest news about us:

The Tiny Craft Mapping Superstorms at Sea – The New York Times
Alameda's Saildrones collect hurricane data - KTVU Fox 2
Record Setting: Saildrone Explorer SD 1045 Entered into Guinness Book
Saildrone Takes the Wraps Off its Voyager Autonomous Research Vehicle – TechCrunch
An Underwater Mountain was Newly Discovered off California Coast – San Francisco Chronicle
The Quest for CO2: You Can’t Capture What You Can’t Find – Inside Unmanned Systems
Hacking the Anthropocene with Survivalist Robots [VIDEO] – Freethink
Here’s What Hurricane Fiona’s Surf Looked Like, from Atop a 50-foot Wave – The Washington Post
An Unprecedented View Inside a Hurricane – EOS
They Sailed Into a Hurricane, Now These Unmanned Saildrones are Seeking Data on Our Carbon Uptake – CNN
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.

At Saildrone, we value diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive workplace that welcomes people from all backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. We believe that a diverse and inclusive team leads to innovation and better problem-solving. We encourage applications from candidates of all genders, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, disabilities, and backgrounds.

Individual compensation packages are based on geographic location, scope of the role, relevant experience, and the ability to deal with complexity and problem solve within our organization, among other factors.

All employees are required to provide proof of authorization to work in the U.S. within their first 3 days of work. Please note that the Company does not sponsor employees for work visas or permanent resident cards to work in the U.S. If you need sponsorship for a work visa or green card, you will not be qualified for employment with Saildrone.

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.