Robotics Research Software Engineer

Sorry, this vacancy is now closed

Closing date
30 Sep 2015
40 hours per week
Contract type
Hatfield (Head Office)

Ocado is the world's largest on-line only grocer. Ocado Technology is responsible for the design and development of almost all the software that runs our highly automated business. The robotics research team is working on pre-production sensor-guided robotic systems using recent research results and state of the art technology to further improve the efficiency of our operation.

In addition to this Ocado has recently been awarded European Union Funding on two Horizon 2020 Research Projects. This has necessitated the need to further expand our team and therefore we are looking to recruit a number of Robotics Research Software Engineers.

This exciting development means that in addition to production related research work, the successful applicants will have the opportunity to contribute to cutting edge, fundamental robotics research in conjunction with a number of leading European universities and research labs.

A details of the projects are as follows:

  • SecondHands – As the Project Co-ordinator Ocado will work alongside University College London, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, La Sapienza University of Rome and Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. The project aims to develop a robot to act as an assistant to Ocado maintenance technicians that is able to understand a technician's activity and pro-actively offer assistance in a timely manner
  • SoMa - is concerned with using inherently compliant robotic mechanisms in order to exploit environmental constraints to manipulate objects in dynamic, highly variable environments. This project is co-ordinated by Technical University of Berlin and will involve collaboration with University of Pisa, Italian Institute of Technology, Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft - und Raumfahrt (DLR), Austrian Institute of Science and Technology, and Disney Research Labs in Zurich.

Role responsibilities

  • Participate effectively in investigating and implementing sensor-guided robotics solutions to a wide variety of automation problems
  • Take an active role in the choice of technologies and techniques used in the delivery of robotics application demonstrators.
  • Perform mathematical modelling and algorithm development to achieve real-time sensor-guided robot motions.
  • Develop software that implements practical solutions to specific robotic applications.
  • Documentation of theoretical developments and their software implementation.
  • Demonstrate working systems and thoroughly test them to establish their operational limits.
  • Attend regular meetings to report on progress and share ideas
  • Work closely with other team members on issues relating to design and requirements.

Knowledge, skills and experience



  • Strong A-levels including A in Maths and either Physics, Further Maths or Computing.
  • 2:1 or 1st class degree in one of the following subjects, Computer Science, Joint Maths & Computing, Cybernetics or Mechatronics with a strong software engineering component.


  • Computer Science or Software Engineering postgraduate qualifications from a recognised course.
  • A PhD in a relevant area or demonstrable track record of the ability to perform novel work in a cutting edge environment on challenging projects.

Job-specific skill-set

Candidates are sought with strong 3D mathematical skills and experience of using them in the development of software in a number of the following domains Note: we are looking for a number of specialists that will collectively cover this list not a single individual experienced in the full list.

  • 2D machine vision and image processing
  • 3D computer vision, particularly with point cloud sources such as time-of-flight cameras and structured lighting devices
  • image mosaicing/stitching/registration
  • non-rigid surface modelling and registration
  • 3D reconstruction
  • image-guided/computer-assisted surgery
  • image-based meshing
  • level-set methods
  • structure from motion
  • sensor guided robot motions, particularly vision guidance
  • spatial occupancy and collision prediction/avoidance
  • robot motion planning including compliant motion
  • robot grasping and manipulaion
  • impedance control
  • programming by demonstration
  • learning by imitation
  • human robot interaction

Of interest, but not essential, would be experience with using some of the following techniques to solving problems in the above domains:-

  • statistical learning 
  • reinforcement learning
  • hidden Markov models
  • numerical optimisation

In addition, demonstrable experience of a number of the following is required:

  • Primary Development Language- C/C++ (using the GCC toolchain and Qt4)
  • Other Languages- GNU Octave or MATLAB, Unix shell scripting, Java, Python
  • Libraries- OpenCV, Point Cloud Library, OpenGL, OpenMesh or MeshLab, VTK, GNU Scientific Library, Numerical Recipes, Computational Geometry, Algorithms Library 
  • Documentation tools – Doxygen, LaTeX
  • Development tools - IDE: Qt Creator, Version Control: Mercurial, Git
  • Operating system - Linux (Ubuntu)

Experience with programming an industrial robot arm would be beneficial, but not essential, providing strong programming skills in other areas can be demonstrated.

Other software development skills of interest are those applicable to real-time systems, distributed systems, multi-tasking/multi-threading and message passing between heterogeneous sub-systems.

Candidate with experience of integrating a number of disparate sub-systems into a coherent working whole would be of particular interest.

What we can offer you

Technically stretching work is a given. We want you to push technological boundaries and create solutions to problems people haven’t even thought about yet; so we’ll give you the freedom and the tools and the playful, stimulating working environment you need to do what’s never been done before. While red tape’s conspicuous by its absence, rewards are plentiful: as well as a competitive salary, benefits include pension scheme, interest-free season ticket loan and, of course, a healthy 15% Ocado staff discount (and free delivery).

Find out more about Ocado Technology at

Please note that due to the high volume of applications we will be in contact with shortlisted candidates only. If you have not heard from us within 4 weeks, please assume your application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

Due to the fast paced nature of Ocado's business our vacancy close dates may be subject to change.

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