Employment Opportunities

Autonomy Researcher

Apply now Job No: 501796
Work Type: Staff Full Time (1500 hours or greater)
Location: Dayton, OH
Category: Research Staff
Department: UAS & Embedded Systems - 250384
Pay Grade: R2 - Exempt
Applications close:

Position Summary:

Are you interested in working for UDRI, a national leader in scientific and engineering research, serving government, industry and nonprofit customers? UDRI contributes to the fulfillment of the University’s commitments to education, research and public service through the involvement of students, faculty and external partners. Established as the research arm of the University of Dayton in 1956, UDRI achieved $2.75 billion in cumulative sponsored research in 2020. Join our team as an Autonomy Researcher!

Verification of autonomy is known to be a hard problem. Autonomous systems include complex decision-making mechanisms that are likely to be sensitive to changing mission conditions, resulting in a “state space explosion” of possible system behaviors that traditional test-based approaches cannot adequately cover. To address this problem, “formal methods” – i.e., mathematically-based tools and techniques for design, specification, and verification – can supplement testing by providing evidence of system correctness through proof and analysis. Formal methods, in conjunction with existing best practices for system and software development, can also be used to make autonomy software more robust and reliable by checking for general properties such as absence of runtime errors, memory leaks, access to undefined memory locations, etc.
Using OpenUxAS, an autonomy framework developed by AFRL, one of our goals is to make it easier for our collaborators, e.g. academic or industrial partners who are using it as a platform to build or test autonomous or human-automation systems, to use OpenUxAS in their own work. However, our larger goal is to use OpenUxAS as a case study and demonstration of best practices for software development, documentation, and verification using formal methods alongside more traditional approaches. To date, we have been working to formalize requirements and verify individual services in UxAS (Aiello, et al. 2019), which we plan to continue. We are also working to restructure UxAS to better enable traditional approaches like unit testing. We are also working to develop better documentation for UxAS, including user guides and developer guides, and we are developing additional tutorial examples for UxAS and associated simulation framework OpenAMASE (AFRL/RQ 2020). We are also working with collaborators who are developing verified algorithms for OpenUxAS, e.g. path planning algorithms. Since OpenUxAS is implemented as a service-oriented architecture, we also plan to develop methods to compositionally verify that collections of services satisfy higher-level system properties. We are also interested in developing a multi-vehicle air collision avoidance algorithm using NASA DAIDALUS (NASA 2020) as a foundation, incorporating it into OpenUxAS, and demonstrating it in OpenAMASE.

Minimum Qualifications:

1. Bachelor's Degree in a relevant technical field;
2. Familiarity with modern Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and software compilers such as Netbeans, Visual Studio, Eclipse, or similar;
3. 3+ years of successful experience developing software using C, C++ or Java;
4. Ability to apply technical concepts discussed in academic papers or journals;
5. Due to requirements of our research contracts with the U.S. federal government, candidates for this position must be a U.S. Citizen

Preferred Qualifications:

While not everyone may possess all of the preferred qualifications, the ideal candidate will bring many of the following:

1. Bachelor's Degree (or higher) in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, or Computer Science;
2. Demonstrated, successful experience (academic or professional) programming in algorithm level languages such as Matlab/Simulink, Python or similar;
3. Demonstrated, successful experience (academic or professional) developing software to 4. Demonstrated, successful experience (academic or professional) installing, configuring, and working in Windows and Linux environments;
5. Demonstrated, successful experience (academic or professional) developing software applications specifically designed for use in multi platform (e.g. Windows and Linux) environments;
6. Demonstrated, successful experience (academic or professional) with source code version control systems such as Git, Subversion, or similar;
7. Demonstrated, successful experience (academic or professional) with software development practices such as Agile, Scrum, or similar;
8. Demonstrated, effective interpersonal skills;
9. Active US SECRET (or higher) clearance

Special Instructions to Applicants: To apply please submit a cover letter addressing each minimum qualification and any applicable preferred qualifications that you meet.
Closing Statement:

Informed by its Catholic and Marianist mission, the University is committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Informed by this commitment, we seek to increase diversity, achieve equitable outcomes, and model inclusion across our campus community. As an Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employer, we will not discriminate against minorities, women, protected veterans, individuals with disabilities, or on the basis of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.


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