Robotics Software System Engineer

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The European Space Agency is ATGs biggest client. They are an international organisation with 22 member states with sites in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, UK and Belgium. ESA is Europes gateway to Space!

For one of our main customers ESA/ESTEC, we are currently looking for a Robotics Software System Engineer, to provide support, to the ESTEC Telerobotics Haptics Laboratory.The ESA Human Robot and Interaction lab, formerly known as Telerobotics Haptics Laboratory, operates in a modern agile fashion that encourages and requires individual responsibility and innovation. The laboratory consists of a high focus, goal oriented and well organized structure that is targeting at innovating the space sector and implementing world- class space robotics projects and technology developments.The lab is providing solutions for operating robots remotely in real-time for space and analog missions. The focus is on haptic tele-manipulation, human robot interfaces, real-time communication middleware, mechatronics and simulation as well as designing the operators experience and analysing their performance. In the past we have developed and implemented technology demonstration missions on the International Space Station such as: HAPTICS 1, HAPTICS 2 and INTERACT.The team of the Laboratory is composed of members with various professional and educational backgrounds centered around mechatronics and (tele)robotics. This team consists of young professional engineers, engineering doctors, and a small number of students and trainees. The laboratories culture is such that you need to be able to integrate and contribute to a continuous high paced working environment by being highly motivated, enterprising, enthusiastic, concentrated and intrinsically driven to excellent results. Our equipment consists of commercial industrial components as well as in-house developed ones. Our goal will for the next years will be to integrate/implement a robotic control station, demonstrator robot and required communication infrastructure to experimentally verify that geology tasks can be remotely performed by an astronaut on the ISS.It is the primary purpose of this position of Robotics Software System Engineer to: develop software to have a robust remote operated robot. This includes: control software for embedded real-time systems, Linux based systems, communication of distributed systems, computer vision and robotic control. In addition to the internal laboratories software infrastructure consisting of embedded systems and real time control software and tools for auto-code generation needs to be maintained, adapted and further developed

  • You will contribute to developing novel specifications and requirements and help maintain the laboratories software frameworks for real-time control and ideally help to extend them to support embedded vision applications;
  • You will develop and maintain control system models for bilateral teleoperation of physicalrobotic master-slave systems;
  • You will operate robotics systems and understand their physical properties and behaviour;
  • You will design and implement custom embedded system software for interfacing sensors/actuators and field-bus level communication;
  • You will maintain and contribute to the development of the laboratories software framework for robotic teleoperation control;
  • You will be a self-starter and possess a good sense of responsibility;
  • You will actively communicate and collaborate with the team and understand the importance of interactions across multiple domains;
  • You will work under pressure of potential spaceflight projects and thrive on being given challenging assignments;
  • You will contribute to lab demos and the preparations of it;
  • You will be able to work easily with international team members and you will communicate clearly and be confident and also able to listen and reflect on opinions and beliefs;
  • You will be intrinsically motivated to contribute to exciting robotics research and you will have excellent problem solving skills;
  • The work within the Telerobotics Haptics Laboratory consists of engineering developments, fundamental research and project support in the domains of robotics, mechatronics, control, software and electrical engineering. Besides this you may offer support to ESAs industrial contracts by means of technical advice and review of proposed solutions.
Ideal Candidate: 
  • Masters degree or PhD in Software engineering from an accredited institution;
  • Strong ability to understand and abstract real-world systems including their physical properties and behaviours into the digital domain;
  • We are looking for a candidate with not only experience in programming but also an implementer of and solver of technical challenges using software. With more focus on embedded systems, real time systems and middleware;
  • Excellent programming skills preferably in C/C++ and scripting languages as python;
  • Extensive knowledge of UNIX/Linux systems preferably of the Xenomai real-time patch, Linux Preempt_rt, or other relevant real- time operating systems (e.g. QNX, RTEMS, VxWorks);
  • Extensive knowledge of MATLAB/Simulink as a user and developer of S-functions and other user extensions;
  • Knowledge of toolchains for rapid software development based on model based design and auto code generation. This includes compiler configuration, deployment and the methods required to automate the workflow (preferably Matlab/Simulink in Windows and Linux), and automated target configuration (e.g. using BuildRoot or Yocto);
  • Understanding of real-time communications as Ethercat, DDS, CAN Programming skills for targeting highly embedded devices like FPGAs and Microcontrollers;
  • Understanding of distributed systems communication and network configuration;
  • Experience in computer vision is desirable, in particular: 3D vision, mono and stereo videotransmission, encoding, and decoding using GStreamer or FFmpeg;
  • Knowledge in machine learning techniques for image processing and object recognition is an asset;
  • Experience with point cloud acquisition, processing and visualisations is an asset;
  • Knowledge of control system design for bilateral master-slave teleoperation setups with time delayed communication is an asset;
  • Experience with structured working methods including revision-tracking systems and preferable agile working methods;
  • Ability to realise ideas and concepts in software prototypes be it in embedded systems or in graphical user interfaces in cooperation with control engineers respective UX experts;
  • Familiarity with automation technology, robotics and control systems;
  • Familiarity with aerospace and/or MIL standards preferred;
  • Practical experience of software development challenges like design approaches, prototyping, mocking, version tracking, continuous delivery, testing and building systems;
  • Proficient computer skills, including but not limited to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Visio.
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