Come Work At Voyage: Engineering Manager, Perception

Voyage is hiring an Engineering Manager for the Perception Team! Here is the job description.

If you want this job:

  1. Apply through the website.
  2. Mention that David Silver sent you! (Maybe they’ll give me a referral bonus?)
  3. Send me (david.silver@voyage.auto) your CV and I’ll pester HR.

I sat down for an exclusive interview with Voyage VP of Talent Jason Wong to learn more about this exciting position.

(Truly, we were sitting down. I know some people do the standing desk thing, and I probably should do that, too. Voyage even supplies those standing desks during Covid, if I could haul myself down to the office to pick one up. But for now, I sit. So does Jason.)

David: What is an Engineering Manager for the Perception Team?

Jason: We’re looking for someone who can lead our Perception Team. It’s a small but mighty team of about half a dozen engineers who work with the sensors on Voyage’s robotaxis in order to perceive the environment.

Perception!

What is perception?

Specifically, Voyage’s Perception Team handles three main tasks:

  1. Detection — finding objects and agents in the environment, primarily using deep learning for computer vision and sensor fusion, but also other robust techniques
  2. Tracking — figuring out if a car we detected one second ago is the same car we’re detecting right now
  3. Localization — calculating our vehicle’s position with respect to the environment and our high-definition maps

The ideal candidate for this position would have really deep knowledge of at least one of these tasks, and familiarity with the others.

What’s exciting about this role? How will it help a candidate grow?

Voyage is at the cutting-edge of both computer vision and sensor fusion. We’ve implemented an Active Learning approach that automatically curates and selects the most valuable sensor data from our massive data set. For example, over time our Active Learning system might discover that we need to concentrate more on golf cart samples, relative to pedestrian samples. Training on a smaller subset of the most valuable data dramatically accelerates our development process and improves performance.

Voyage’s Active Learning system selects small data subsets for optimal performance.

One of this team’s most important deliverables is camera-based Depth Perception. We train deep learning models on both camera images and lidar point clouds, so that we can ultimately use camera images alone to infer depth — the distance to objects in a two-dimensional image. This is incredibly important for redundancy, safety, and performance. And it’s easy to generate a proof-of-concept, but what we require is fully robust performance under all manner of conditions.

Voyage trains an ensemble of different deep learning models on lidar point clouds.

We’re also working with an ensemble of multiple deep learning models for point cloud detection, tracking, and sensor fusion. Very few leaders have access to the engineering team, volume of data, and real-world validation opportunities to push the cutting edge in this domain. The Engineering Manager of the Perception Team at Voyage will have all of those tools!

Is this role more about people management or technical leadership?

More technical leadership. The engineers on the Perception Team will report to this manager, so there’s an important people management aspect. But our engineers are fairly senior and strong, so what we really need is a technical expert who can serve as a sounding board and leader for architectural design decisions.

Could this be somebody’s first managerial role?

Ideally, we’re looking for someone who has managed a team before, but it could be somebody’s first managerial role— we’re open to that. In that case, what we’d really want to see is strong technical project leadership experience. A Technical Lead who hasn’t officially managed people, but has shipped large-scale computer vision and sensor fusion projects to completion, could potentially be a good candidate for this role.

The real world is crazy! Do you see those turkeys? Voyage’s perception stack does!

Would Voyage hire somebody from outside the robotaxi industry?

We’d consider it. Computer vision and sensor fusion experience is critical for this role, so we’d want to see that. And we find that there are a lot of specific nuances to building safety-critical Level 4 autonomous driving systems. That’s an advantage for engineers who already work in AV. But this position could be a good fit for somebody from a related industry, like Drones, Computer Vision, or other areas of Robotics.

Lidar is a key component of Voyage’s perception stack.

Could the candidate be remote? Work from Hawaii?

Ideally, having someone based in the Bay Area would be preferred given the nature of the role, but we have flexibility to hire a really strong candidate remotely. Voyage supports remote work!

Jason Wong, VP of Talent at Voyage

Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks. What’s the interview process? Is it hard?

Ha. We have an amazing Perception Team at Voyage and we’re looking for an amazing leader for that team. We don’t set out to make the interview process “hard”, per se, but by the end of the process, we want to be confident that a candidate is phenomenal!

The first stage is a technical domain interview with a member of the Perception Team. In this stage, we’ll gauge a candidate’s expertise and skill in the perception domain. And the candidate can start to gauge us and the work we’re doing!

The second stage is an interview with our VP of Engineering, Davide Bacchet. This position reports to Davide, so we want to make sure there’s a strong relationship. Even more importantly, Davide will want to discuss the candidate’s vision of leadership and team growth.

The final stage is a set of panel interviews with the engineers on the team. These interviews will focus on domain expertise and managerial philosophy. It’s really important to us that every engineer on the team get to meet the candidate before we extend an offer. And we want the incoming manager to feel good about all the team members, too. The strength of this team is one of the selling points of the role.

Is there a coding interview? Does the candidate need to be able to reverse a linked list in five minutes or less?

LOL. No, there’s no coding interview for this position. The type of candidate we’re looking for does code and can reverse a linked list, but that’s not part of the selection process. We’re much more focused on deep domain expertise, thorough system design, and technical leadership.


Alright, one more time.

  1. Apply through the website.
  2. Mention that David Silver sent you! (Maybe they’ll give me a referral bonus?)
  3. Send me (david.silver@voyage.auto) your CV and I’ll pester HR.

See you at Voyage!

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