Robotics Research Software Engineer - Robot Learning

Last updated one month ago
Location:Hertfordshire
Job Type:Full Time

"We are on a mission to transform the future of grocery retail through sustained technology innovation.”

Ocado Technology is putting the world’s retailers online using the cloud, robotics, AI, and IoT. We develop the innovative software and hardware systems that power Ocado.com, the world’s largest online-only grocery retailer as well as the global ‘Ocado Smart Platform’. With everything from websites to fully autonomous warehouse that we design in-house, our employees need to be specialists in a wide range of technologies to help drive our business.

We champion a value-led culture to get our teams working at their very best and to help create a collaborative working environment that our people love. Core values of Trust, Autonomy, Craftsmanship, Collaboration and Learn Fast help drive our innovative culture. But don’t just take our word for it, have a look at what our people are saying about us on Glassdoor.

What does the Robotics Research Team do?

The robotics research team is working on sensor-guided robotic systems to further improve the efficiency of our operation. Our primary goal is to find the best way to deploy robots in the production of grocery orders. In order to do this, we pursue cutting-edge research into state of the art algorithms, sensing technologies, and manipulation techniques.

The robotics research team is currently undergoing an expansion and we are looking to hire an expert in robotic learning to support and enhance the team's capabilities.

As part of our effort to be in the vanguard of robotics research, the team has been involved in two European Union funded Horizon 2020 research projects with a number of leading European Universities:-

  • The SoMa project was concerned with using inherently compliant robotic mechanisms in order to exploit environmental constraints to manipulate objects with a wide variety of properties in highly variable environments. More details of the project and the list of other participants can be found at the project's website: http://soma-project.eu.
  • Ocado coordinated the project SecondHands: the aim of the project was to develop a robot that will act as an assistant to Ocado maintenance technicians that is able to understand a technician's activity and proactively offer assistance in a timely manner, i.e. it will behave as a second pair of hands for the technician. More details of the project and the list of other participants can be found at the project's website: https://secondhands.eu.

In addition to these projects, the team liaises with a number of leading universities performing robotics and related autonomous systems research. The team is looking forward to adopting cutting edge academic research into our next generation robotic systems as well as to perform novel applied research.

What will you do?

  • Participate effectively in investigating and implementing sensor-driven robotics solutions to specific automation problems.
  • Take an active role in the choice of technologies and techniques used in the delivery of robotics application demonstrators.
  • Develop novel learning by demonstration/imitation/reinforcement algorithms to enhance the capabilities of our robots with new skills learned from a human teacher.
  • Participate in the development of several aspects of a robotic system.
  • Perform mathematical modelling and algorithm development to achieve real-time sensor-guided robot motions.
  • Develop software that implements novel and sophisticated solutions to specific robotic applications.
  • Document and present theoretical developments and their software implementation.
  • Demonstrate working pre-production systems and thoroughly testing them to establish their operational limits.
  • Keep up to date with the latest results in the robotic scientific community.
  • Liaise with production engineering for the purpose of aiding the adoption of newly developed solutions.

We'd like to hear from you if you have...

The successful candidate will be a specialist in the field of robotic learning and a good software engineer able to translate her/his own scientific ideas into reusable code. Ideally the candidate will have:

  • A PhD, awarded by a leading university in robotic learning by demonstration/imitation, reinforcement learning applied to robotics or a related topic
  • Experience in machine learning techniques and developing machine learning solutions, applied to robotics or other domains;
  • Good mathematical modelling skills
  • Good software engineering skills, ability to write reusable and clean code
  • Familiarity with common software development tools and practices (e.g. source control)
  • Demonstrable experience in developing software in C++ and python
  • Experience working with robotic arms or hands for manipulation tasks
  • Experience developing robot components using a robotic middleware/framework.

Bonus points if you have…

  • Familiarity with manipulating images, either as learning input or for developing computer vision algorithms;
  • Performing integration of large or complex systems;
  • Developing code using ROS;
  • Experience developing on Ubuntu Linux;
  • Developing and validating robotic software using simulators;
  • Testing and writing tests for the developed code as a practice.

What we can offer you

Our employee benefits are designed for you, we care about people and we’ve ensured we have a wealth of benefits that focus on your well-being. Within our flexible environment we can offer technically stretching work, a competitive salary and share schemes. Benefits include pension scheme, train season ticket loan (interest-free), free shuttle bus from Hatfield train station and of course, healthy Ocado retail staff discounts.

We also have regular divisional socials, sports clubs not to mention the Ocado Technology Academy for a packed schedule of courses, conferences and events such as discussion sessions, conference briefs and external guest speakers. If you think you have what it takes to make a difference, please submit your application below.

Due to the energising nature of Ocado's business, vacancy close dates, when stated, are indicative and may be subject to change so please apply as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Please note: If you have applied and been rejected for this role in the last 6 months, or applied and been rejected for a role with a similar skill set, we will not re-evaluate you for this position. After 6 months, we will treat your application as a new one.

Be bold, be unique, be brilliant, be you. We are looking for individuality and we value diversity above gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, age, disability or union participation. We are an equal opportunities employer and we are committed to treating all applicants and employees fairly and equally.