Early engineering team at Terraform

Early engineering team at Terraform

Terraform aims to build affordable and beautiful homes by automating on-site construction with robotics and software. Our mission is to construct a world where aesthetically pleasing bespoke buildings are built within a single day with minimal labor.

We're in the very first days of building up this company. This is a unique opportunity to be immersed in a high-growth, high ambition startup environment, working with an experienced founding team surrounded by top-tier investors from day 1.

Working at Terraform

What we care about in a team member
  1. We care the most about your speed and ability to learn as you go along. Even more so, given that progress in a hardware startup is slower than software due to its physical nature. It is about being aggressive and creative when dealing with problems. You don't over-optimize on efficiency, but you get the first version out the door to unblock critical issues.
  2. You need to be a generalist who can own the design space from beginning to end. You're comfortable with framing, conceptualizing, coding & building to come up with the required solution for any situation.
  3. You're comfortable taking technology bets without doing endless research but actively derisking those bets by building. It means that we try to get to the trickiest part as soon as possible for each engineering decision. In this way, we decide if it's worth investing more time in that direction or killing it asap.
  4. You are a pragmatic first-principle thinker. For each element in the robotic system, you can articulate why it's a necessity and why we can't pick cheaper components or simplify the design for our use case. If so, we should stick with what everyone else is doing. If not, you should have the conviction to go for the simpeler design and the cheaper components.
  5. You get your hands dirty & get things done. We are a small team, and no matter how senior you are, we expect you to be involved (and enjoy) in building the prototypes for all initial hardware. You should know when to take the right shortcuts to ship something that works.
You will enjoy this if you
  • Enjoy taking technical products from zero to one. You're a natural hacker who learns from building and testing rather than by developing perfect theory. You find fast and pragmatic ways to get things to work.
  • Are passionate about bringing physical products to life that integrate hardware and software in systems for real-world problems. You love solving complex engineering problems from scratch and push through till you see the solution work.
  • Like working in a startup environment navigating uncertainty and complexity. You worked in high-pressure environments that before that launched the first version of the product.
  • Believe in the big mission that affordable and beautiful housing is needed to make this world a better place. You believe that great teams make magic happen, while you can solve tricky things yourself.
  • You are driven, organized, and communicative and you thrive in environments with high ambiguity.
  • We don't hang out on beanbags and play foosball on Friday afternoons and if that's what you're looking for, Terraform might not be for you. We do offer you a challenging job with a strong mission, a talented team to learn from and an opportunity to build something that has never been successfully built before.
What we offer
  • A leading role as an early engineer that fundamentally shapes the product and technology.
  • Help grow and nurture the team and company for the long term.
  • Competitive salary.
  • Generous equity package.
  • Office based in the city-center of Amsterdam.
  • In short, we'll make sure the essentials are in place for you to do your best work.

Who's in the team today?

Salar, Sebas, Sten and Philip are the core, full-time team today. Wiebe is helping us get off the ground as a contractor.

How can I get in touch?

Where are you based?

In the city center of Amsterdam at the Overtoom, on the ground floor of a beautiful old school building.

Are you doing remote work?

No. We've decided that we'd like to have the team work from our office and we believe it's a necessity given the hardware work we're doing. That being said, we're comfortable with the occasional working-from-home days and this is of course conditional on covid government policy.

Will you relocate me? Can you sponsor my visa?

Yes. We're currently focussed on people working in the EU/EEA that can easily move to Amsterdam, but have the option to sponsor a small number of non-EU/EEA citizens.

Are you funded?

Yes, we're well-funded by top-tier investors. We're not disclosing details publicly but can share more information during the interview process.

How big is the company? How many people will you hire?

We're 5 people right now. We're planning to grow to about 7 people by the end of 2021 and towards 15 by the end of 2022.

I don't know anything about construction or robotics, is this for me?

Yes. We're looking for people that are smart and willing to learn new things quickly. If you're a great engineer and excited about construction and robotics, this could be the best environment for to dive deep into those topics while approaching them with a fresh perspective.

Open Positions

Lead Mechanical engineer

Your mission & objectives:

Bring the physical components of Terraform's robotic system to life by designing, simulating, and building the robotic arms, connections, and grippers for the complete lifecycle.

  1. Design variations of robotics arms and cranes, reason and calculate their mechanical loads and stresses, and communicate designs effectively with the team (via 3D CAD drawings).
  2. Design locomotion mechanisms, e.g. something on wheels that can move around on a construction site.
  3. Design simple but effective end-effectors & actuators, e.g. to hold a brick.
  4. Understand the impact of outdoor weather on our designs and the effects of fatigue due to usage over time.
  5. Retrofit existing equipment to update for automated computer control.

What you'll be responsible for:

  • Developing and integrating the robotic system with safety-critical features and software for industrial robots.
  • Fully own the mechanical design of complex subsystems like arms, joints, connections, grippers, and actuators.
  • Derive, analyze and decide through trade studies on material choices per subsystem, including impact on manufacturing and unit cost.
  • Understanding mechanical design sizing and modeling at various levels of fidelity from roughly-sized concepts to fully-detailed models analyzed against a suite of load cases
  • Simulate loads, stresses, vibrations, and thermal cycles using hand & static calculations via Matlab/Python and for 3D structures with Ansys or Comsol.
  • Source relevant materials and components effectively (fast and cheap) from shops to build and test prototypes.

Your track record so far:

  • Deep knowledge of mechanical systems and structural dynamics: e.g. statics, mechanics of materials, dynamics, vibrations, material science, and controls.
  • Experience in rapid prototyping, machining, and milling to make product designs a reality. Providing hands-on support applied to virtual builds, physical prototype builds, and pre-series production.
  • Experience in designing and delivering products from concept up to low series volume (i.e., 10)
  • Expertise with 3D modeling with complex parts and assemblies, e.g. Catia, Solid Work, or Siemens NX. Deep experience in GD&T, exact constraints
  • Expertise in multi-physics simulations (FEA) applied to structural designing problems, e.g. Comsol and Ansys.
  • Preferred experience building prototypes in early-stage startups or top student team competitions.
  • B.Sc. in mechanical engineering or similar.

Robotics/Mechatronics engineer

Your mission & objectives:

You're passionate about developing Terraform's robotics system such that they operate continuously, reliably, predictably in the construction environment and interact in sync with users in real-world situations.

  • Model, design, and control robotic systems for required use cases using perception, planning, and decision making.
  • Specify and select required sensors ranging from ba encoders and Hall effect sensors to LIDARs, if it turns out that we need one.
  • Developing and integrating the robotic system with safety-critical features and software for industrial robots.

What you'll be responsible for:

  • Conceptualise, architect, and integrate automated systems from the ground up and select the best sensors, effectors, and actuators.
  • Perform trade studies on hardware selection, system design, and software architecture.
  • Determine functional requirements for hardware, software, data usage, and requirements.
  • Analyse, evaluate, and validate robotic systems in complex environments.
  • Implement controllers to merge sensor data and drive the actuators accordingly.

Your track record so far:

  • Practical experience implementing algorithms for the calibration and motion control and path planning of complex robotic systems. Robotic mechanical and electrical troubleshooting skills.
  • Theoretical and practical experience in control theory, sensor fusion, digital signal processing, robotic arm positioning, and control.
  • Theoretical and practical experience in kinematics solvers, ROS, SLAM, motion planning, and collision avoidance, and sensor fusion.
  • Theoretical and practical experience in machine perception, planning & decision making, and human-robot interaction.
  • Experience in developing software and controls for industrial robots.
  • Experience writing hardware interfacing software in Python and C++, involving safety standards and low-level protocols.
  • Deep understanding of algorithms and data structures.
  • Preferred experience building prototypes in early-stage startups or top student team competitions.
  • B.Sc. in electrical, mechatronics, or robotics engineering or equivalent experience.

Controls engineer

Your mission & objectives:

Develop control systems using pragmatic control algorithms that integrate real-time embedded software, high-speed electronics, and sensors to enable Terraform's robotic system to operate reliably, fast and safe on the construction site.

  1. Control system development and integration involving pragmatic control algorithms, real-time embedded software, high speed electronics and sensors & actuators.
  2. Define, select and design controllers through trade-offs in cost and performance. Specify, select and implement appropriate actuators.
  3. Be excited to push the envelope on the price/performance curve. For example, creatively source unusual actuators where necessary to get the desired outcome.
  4. Specify and select required sensors ranging from basic encoders and Hall effect sensors to LIDARs (if it turns out that we need one).
  5. Implement controllers to merge sensor data and drive the actuators accordingly.

What you'll be responsible for:

  • Performs the design, development, and implementation of complex algorithms involving controller design, system identification, signal processing, and stochastic signal analysis.
  • Generates software and/or firmware requirements for control algorithm implementations
  • Designs and builds tools that allow debugging, analysis, and performance evaluation of algorithms.
  • Determines the root cause for algorithm failure in systems and can debug quickly.
  • Source relevant materials and components effectively (fast and cheap) with suppliers for the first prototypes.

Your track record so far:

  • Practical and theoretical knowledge on modeling, signal processing, controller design, and system analysis, robust control, digital control, non-linear system theory, optimization, filtering
  • Expertise applied to PLC components such as sensors, actuators, effectors, network switches, and power supplies.
  • Experience in programming with C++ and preferably Rust.
  • Experience in troubleshoot issues and conduct root cause analysis.
  • Experience in reading and creating electric system schematics.
  • Preferred experience in building prototypes with early-stage startups and/or top student teams.
  • B.Sc. in Electrical-, Mechanical-, Mechatronics-, Controls System Engineering or equivalent.

Embedded software engineer

Your mission & objectives:

Architect and develop highly reliable embedded software in a reliable, safety-critical, and high-performing environment adaptable to real-world use cases in the construction environment.

  1. Define the software architecture in a distributed system with multiple robots while reasoning through trade-offs.
  2. Develop embedded software to interface with robotic and locomotive systems in sync with the planning operating system.
  3. Eliminate or minimize all the friction in your typical workflow. For example, you quickly write a shell script for a task you need to repeat daily.

What you'll be responsible for:

  • Providing software to enable the prototyping and evaluation of new hardware technologies and designs.
  • Implementing software designs for tools used in developing & validating hardware designs.
  • Develop low-level drivers for interfaces like CAN, LIN, I2C, SPI, Ethernet, and Bluetooth.
  • Configure and optimize real-time operating system applications.
  • Develop, debug, and test Ethernet and CAN-based boot-loaders.
  • Support hardware engineers with PCB bring-up, debugging and testing.

Your track record so far:

  • Experience in embedded/real-time software engineering in software/hardware systems. Comfortable with embedded systems development, microcontrollers, or firmware programming.
  • Expert software engineering skills. For example, you are comfortable using git for version control, using a Linux command line as well as ssh.
  • Expertise in C or C++ programming, Python, and software design; expertise in other languages welcome.
  • A solid understanding of embedded computer systems architecture. Low-level RTOS brings up and development. Embedded Linux brings up and driver development.
  • Knowledge of both high- and low-level communication protocols, from I2C and SPI to CAN and TCP/IP Protocols.
  • Experience developing comprehensive testing - from unit tests to hardware-in-the-loop tests.
  • Basic knowledge of electrical engineering fundamentals to support low-level debugging. Ability to read electrical engineering schematics and component datasheets.
  • B.Sc. in Computer Science or equivalent.

Interested? Get in touch with us: hello@terraform.industries