Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is currently searching for a highly motivated and enthusiastic Robotics Engineer to join the Scibotics Lab within the Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering Department (AOPE). This is a regular full-time, exempt position, and is eligible for benefits.
The Scibotics Lab’s main focus is developing innovative solutions for oceanographic research using ocean robotics, particularly autonomous technologies. Our workflow balances between conceptualization, design, fabrication and field operations in many complex oceanographic environments. Some applications include biological and physical surveys, mapping, under-ice exploration, environmental anomaly detection, and filming of megafauna. Our lab places a large focus on developing backseat autonomy capabilities with sensors and software. The Scibotics team operates in a creative and exciting workspace from creation of ideas to deployment in the field.
The Robotics Engineer will perform a wide range of mechanical design and system testing tasks related to autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and their subsystems. The position will include both mechanical (70%) and systems (30%) engineering, with a focus on detailed design of mechanical systems, as well as integration of various electrical subsystems, sensors and power sources. Excellent writing and communication skills for both team collaboration and publishing reports and papers and proposal writing are desired. The successful candidate with have proven leadership skills necessary to work with and eventually lead a team of technicians and engineers through a design project or field cruise. All members of our team are expected to spend time both in the office or lab and in the field.
Preparation, troubleshooting and repair, and operations of ocean vehicles is a major component to our lab’s workflow. Field operations range from test missions in local waters to multi-week cruises on research vessels to support science, exploration, or disaster response and support military research and development. Some previous missions have included oil spill response, locating shipwrecks, mapping unexplored parts of the ocean, and studying sharks and sea turtles. Past project sponsors include National Science Foundations, NOAA, Office of Naval Research, DARPA, BSEE, Discovery Channel, Department of Homeland Security (DHS -U.S. Coast Guard), foreign governments and philanthropic organizations.
The internal working titles for this position could be either Engineer I or Engineer II. The final level of the position will be determined commensurate with the selected candidate’s level of education & experience.
With some supervision to achieve assigned objectives, identifies and participates in engineering projects in support of scientific and research activities through the demonstration of one or more specialized skills. Will be expected to work on tasks requiring creativity and independent thinking, along with a proven understanding of fundamental research and engineering principles.
With little supervision, works creatively and independently to establish objectives, meet deadlines, and complete difficult engineering assignments by demonstrating full competency in one or more engineering areas; assists substantively in planning technical aspects of experiments, as well as design, testing, and use of major system components.
Both levels need to comfortably perform the following functions:
Bachelor’s degree in a relevant Engineering or science environment or 2-3 years of experience in a relevant field.
Bachelor’s degree in related engineering field, or Master's degree in an Engineering or appropriate field with several years of related experience, or Bachelor's degree in an Engineering or appropriate field with more than three years of related experience.
For both levels, the desired experience includes the following, in order of importance:
Physical duties for this position include but are not limited to, ability to lift less than 25 lbs independently, 2 times per day; carry 10-25 lbs, 2 times per day. Visual abilities to include near, far, peripheral, depth perception, and ability to distinguish basic colors. Hearing requirements include the ability to hear and respond to instructions, communicate effectively in loud areas (pier/dock, warehouse). Other physical tasks include occasional prolonged standing/walking; use of hands for basic /fine grasping and manipulation, repetitive motion, reaching above and below the shoulders, pushing, pulling, kneeling, bending, twisting, and stooping. Other occupational requirements include talking, traveling, working around others, and with others. Will be exposed to dust or other irritants and electrical/mechanical/power equipment hazards. Physical duties are subject to change.
May work at least 8 hours per day and, at times in excess of 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. Sleep and work hours can deviate from those on land. May be expected to work on watch schedule (such as 8 hours on and 8 hours off or 12 hours on and 8 hours off) for all or part of a cruise or to work as hours are needed to accomplish the planned work. May need to travel during holidays and for long distances to and from foreign ports. May experience rudimentary living and working conditions, with shared and basic living quarters and laboratories. May experience bad or extreme weather conditions, including heavy seas, winter weather or hot, tropical weather. Work on deck may occur in both hot and cold conditions around the clock. Sea conditions will lead to active ship motion. Should be able to climb steep and vertical ladders and able to enter and exit compartments through hatches, doors, and sills. Should be able to carry heavy gear and participate in the loading and unloading of the ship as well as in the activities on deck and in the labs during the cruise. Shipboard environment may include: confined areas, shared sleeping quarters (berths) and bathroom facilities, small and basic berthing, fixed meal times and basic menus. Modest levels of heating, cooling, ventilation, and illumination, limited or no email and internet access and limited off-duty and recreational facilities (library, lounge, movies). May be exposed to potential allergens and irritants, including paint fumes. May experience constant and intermittent loud noises, and slippery and uneven surfaces.