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Autonomous systems Engineer 2

University of Washington
Seattle, WA
Closing date
Sep 16, 2021

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Science, Physical Sciences and Engineering
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As a UW employee, you will enjoy generous benefits and work/life programs. For detailed information on Benefits for this position, click here.

As a UW employee, you have a unique opportunity to change lives on our campuses, in our state and around the world. UW employees offer their boundless energy, creative problem solving skills and dedication to build stronger minds and a healthier world.

UW faculty and staff also enjoy outstanding benefits, professional growth opportunities and unique resources in an environment noted for diversity, intellectual excitement, artistic pursuits and natural beauty.

The Applied Physics Laboratory at the University of Washington is hiring - see yourself at APL!

The Applied Physics Laboratory is a research unit at the University of Washington. Our research expertise is in ocean physics and engineering, ocean and medical acoustics, polar science, environmental remote sensing, and signal processing. We conduct research and development that is sponsored by a variety of federal and state agencies, and take great pride in our long-standing status as a US Navy-designated University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). Our work takes place not only on the University of Washington campus and medical centers, but in field locations around the world - at sea, in the air, and on polar ice caps. We apply rigorous scientific inquiry and engineering excellence in pursuit of solutions to important problems for the good of our region, nation, and world.

Diversity is a core value at University of Washington and the Applied Physics Laboratory shares this commitment. We are focused on building and sustaining an inclusive and equitable research environment for all students, staff, and collaborators. We believe every member on our team enriches our community by exposing us to a broad range of ways to understand and engage with the world, identify challenges, and to discover, design and deliver solutions

APL's Environmental and Information Systems (EIS) department seeks applicants for an Autonomous Systems Engineer 2. The position will focus on Advancing technologies for basic oceanographic research and for applied systems deployed for the US Navy and other stakeholders. The position will work closely with project leads and senior engineers to design and develop software for fielded autonomous/robotic systems. The work will entail integration of sensing and actuation hardware with custom control/monitoring software.

Examples of these duties include:
  • Identifying resource requirements such as software packages and libraries and hardware solutions such as processors, memory, and storage capacity. Integrating third party and custom code into system-specific solutions. Then implementing diagnostic logging code for startup either manually or automatically.
  • Working with "bare" hardware and safely handling electronic components, wiring, switches, power supplies, etc. Accompany system for field testing and deployments, working outdoors under occasionally challenging conditions (small boat operations, e.g.)
  • Writing offboard diagnostic software for reading, plotting, and analyzing data generated by the onboard systems. Reporting on results to senior engineers to work out solutions to anomalies, failures, or to improve efficiency. All while adhering to accepted best coding practices and conventions and be versed in interface documentation techniques.


Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Math, Physics, or other technical field and 2 years of software development experience including (equivalent experience may substitute for degree):
  • Experience developing in an open-source environment (Unix generally, Linux particularly)
  • Experience developing in the Python programming language
  • Experience with at least one plotting/graphing toolset such as Matlab, Octave, or Python equivalent.
  • Familiarity with Unix networking
  • Ability and willingness to participate in fieldwork, possibly on small boats or large research ships.
  • Able to work both independently and tightly coupled with the team in an R&D environment. The candidate must have good problem solving/troubleshooting skills and be able to apply them in a laboratory or field environment.
  • Well versed in Software Revision Control systems such as GIT or Subversion
  • Good written communication skills, able to generate concise informative reports.
  • Must be eligible to obtain and maintain a Department of Defense security clearance

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license/certification/registration.

  • Experience with autonomous or robotic systems and development on small embedded processors, e.g. Raspberry Pi
  • Experience with C++ and Java
  • Experience with ethernet-based communications protocols such as TCP/IP and UDP.
  • Experience with non-IP communications protocols such as RS232/485, I2C, and SPI
  • Experience with automated software test and bug tracking tools.
  • Good math/analytic skills and a basic understanding of coordinate systems and navigational geometry.
  • Experience with standard desktop documentation applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

Please note: This recruitment may fill additional openings. There is a similar position posted at a more advanced level. For more information, click here.


May be subject to successful completion of E-Verify process.

Application Process:

The application process for UW positions may include completion of a variety of online assessments to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process. These assessments may include Work Authorization, Cover Letter and/or others. Any assessments that you need to complete will appear on your screen as soon as you select "Apply to this position". Once you begin an assessment, it must be completed at that time; if you do not complete the assessment you will be prompted to do so the next time you access your "My Jobs" page. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until all required assessments have been completed.

Applicants considered for this position will be required to disclose if they are the subject of any substantiated findings or current investigations related to sexual misconduct at their current employment and past employment. Disclosure is required under Washington state law.

Committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, the University of Washington will honor your experiences, perspectives and unique identity. Together, our community strives to create and maintain working and learning environments that are inclusive, equitable and welcoming.
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