Robotics Simulation Software Development Lead (AER0004S0) & (AER0004S1)

at Engineering Research
Location Houston, TX
Date Posted May 31, 2020
Category Default
Job Type Full-time


ERC is a servant-leader oriented company with approximately 1,800 employees and multiple contracts across the US.  We believe that our culture has a direct influence on the job satisfaction of our employees and is reflected in the outstanding quality of service received by our customers. 

Your role:

We need your commitment, teamwork, and energy to help us achieve great things that inspire humans all over the globe.

We need you to bring innovative ideas and diverse backgrounds to help us envision, shape, and deliver systems that will benefit the quality of life of people around the world. We are excited about what we do, and we need you on our team as we take on new challenges for NASA’s pursuits in deep space exploration. Jacobs is NASA’s largest engineering solutions provider working alongside NASA at centers across the United States.

We have the unique and significant role to partner with NASA at Johnson Space Center (JSC), to be part of every human spaceflight program – the International Space Station (ISS), NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will carry astronauts into deep space, and Gateway, the orbiting platform providing the home for astronauts to work and travel back and forth to the moon’s surface, and serving as the platform for deep space exploration. From critical systems on the ISS to enable astronauts to live and work in space; to performing advanced development for systems leading to deep space exploration; to being part of the foundation for Gateway.

We also partner with NASA at JSC, the only NASA center in the United States to curate all astromaterial samples returned from exploration missions, to perform curation services, orbital debris analysis, and basic research to further humankind’s understanding of the origins of our solar system.

What you’ll do all day:

As a Robotics Simulation Software Development Lead you will:

  • Lead the SRC (Space Robotics Challenge) simulation team, providing technical management and coordination of development, maintenance and competition support.
  • Maintain and update robot models for a competition to optimize autonomous collection of ISRU (In Situ Resource Utilization) materials in a lunar or extra-terrestrial environment.
  • Work with NASA team members to refine models and controllers for use within Gazebo.
  • Update and distribute documentation and tutorials for the utilization of those integrated controllers.
  • Provide qualitative and/or quantitative characterization of expected vehicle/terrain interaction.
  • Maintain and enhance ROS infrastructure to transmit data from simulated sensors, to include camera, IMU, and joint encoders, in addition to other sensors as designated during the competition.
  • Maintain and enhance ROS infrastructure to transmit commands to simulated motors, to include wheels, drills, and other mechanical actuation mechanisms.
  • Develop ROS-based user interfaces for competitors to use for autonomous vehicle operations.
  • Develop and test simulation worlds, including detailed and lunar accurate lighting environment.
  • Develop a CloudSim challenge environment for autonomous operations of simulation.
  • Assist in setting up challenge practice runs for competitors.
  • Customize standard Gazebo scoring plug-ins to score and rank the competitors performance.
  • Provide direct support for the operation of Gazebo within and during the qualifying round(s) and the competition round(s).
  • Assist in judging of runs for final scores.
  • Provide animation footage of all qualification and competition runs to Space Center Houston, and Centennial Challenges.
  • Develop practical task scenarios for the qualification and competition rounds.
  • Define rules for the competition.
  • Define the 'game mechanics' for the competition.
  • Design validation tasks.
  • Ensure real-time performance of Gazebo simulation is maintained.
  • Implement appropriate tools for use by virtual SRC competitors to increase efficiency of virtual SRC practice sessions.
  • Provide CloudSim to support the competition.
  • Collect data on validation tasks, and provide analysis of that data to modify simulation parameters, and provide documentation of the process and its results.
  • Implement and release Gazebo software bug fixes, improvements, and other features as needed by competitors, and other users of the competition environments.
  • Perform other duties as required.

You will love this job if you:

  • Are a self-starter and require little oversight to complete given tasks
  • Enjoy a fast-paced work environment
  • Love working with diverse groups of individuals, including engineers and technicians
  • Are good at communicating with people
  • Have a positive attitude
  • Enjoy multitasking

Minimum requirements for this position:

This position has been posted at multiple levels. Depending on the candidate's experience, requirements and business needs, we reserve the right to consider candidates at any level for which this position has been advertised.


  • Typically has a BS degree in a computer or system science discipline from an accredited college or university and five (5) years of progressive, relevant experience, or an MS degree in a computer or system science and four (4) years of progressive experience, or Ph.D. degree in a computer of system science discipline.


  • BS degree in engineering from an accredited engineering school and five (5) years of related engineering experience, or a MS degree from an accredited engineering school and four (4) years of related engineering experience, or Ph.D. from an accredited engineering school and zero (0) years of related experience.
  • Experience leading a small robotics simulation team.
  • Proficiency with C++ coding.
  • Proficiency with Python scripting.
  • Proficiency with 3D simulation environment graphics engines.
  • Proficiency with Linux (Ubuntu OS).
  • Proficiency with Robot Operating System (ROS).
  • Experience with GazeboSim.
  • Experience with Docker.
  • Proficiency with Cloud services (AWS, Microsoft Azure)
  • Proficiency with Virtualization (Docker, Kubernetes)
  • Software configuration management tools such as Bitbucket and Github.
  • Excellent communication skills and strong customer service attitude.

Desired skills and experience for this position:

  • Experience with OGRE 3D.
  • Experience with CloudSim.
  • Experience with software requirements.

What we offer:

  • Competitive salaries.
  • Continuing education assistance.
  • Professional development allotment.
  • Multiple healthcare benefit packages.
  • 401K with employer matching.
  • Paid time off (PTO) along with federally recognized holiday schedule