Research and Development Engineer (Vehicle Autonomy Engineer)

Penn State University

University Park Campus
Date Announced:
Date Closing:
open until filled
Job Number:
Level/Salary Band:
  • 01 – L – Exempt
  • 02 – M – Exempt
  • 03 – N – Exempt
Work Unit:
Applied Research Laboratory
Tactical Processing/USO
Full/Part Time:


The Undersea Systems Office (USO) at the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at Penn State has openings in the Tactical Processing Department for entry and mid-level engineers who have interests in the areas of robotics, controls, algorithm development, and data analysis for autonomous undersea vehicles. These positions will be part of one or more design teams whose primary function is to develop tactical processing systems for the intelligent control of one or more autonomous undersea vehicles or system of vehicles. Responsibilities include some or all of: Designing algorithms for situational awareness, guidance and control, and autonomous decision making; analyzing acoustic, sensor, and vehicle data; interfacing with software and hardware subsystems; low-level modeling and simulation work; collaborating and clearly communicating with a team of peers; and thorough documentation of all work. This job will be filled as a level 1, level 2, or level 3, depending upon the successful candidate's competencies, education, and experience. Typically requires a Bachelor's degree or higher in an Engineering or Science discipline (Professional Engineer license accepted in lieu of Bachelor's degree) or higher, or an equivalent combination of education and experience for a level 1. Additional experience and/or education and competencies are required for higher level jobs. A degree in Electrical or Mechanical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Applied or Pure Mathematics, Physics, or other related engineering fields are desired. Experience in the following is preferred: MATLAB; C++; object-oriented programming; undersea acoustics; intelligent control and fuzzy logic; signal processing algorithms; signal and image processing; guidance and control systems; machine intelligence; and vehicle autonomy. Entry level candidates must have a solid understanding of engineering practices and principles, along with an underlying knowledge of mathematics and physics. Proficiency with computer systems is required. Excellent written and oral communication skills, good interpersonal skills, and a willingness to work within a team environment is necessary. Occasional travel to support testing and to attend meetings is required. Candidates selected will be subject to a government security investigation. You must be a U.S. citizen to apply. Employment with the Applied Research Laboratory will require successful completion of a pre-employment drug screen. These are one-year, fixed-term renewable appointments.

These salary bands have been established to provide salary guidelines for staff positions.

Salary Band Minimum Midpoint Maximum
A $16,584 $24,456 $32,328
B $18,240 $26,904 $35,556
C $19,728 $29,592 $39,456
D $21,708 $32,568 $43,416
E $24,312 $36,468 $48,612
F $27,228 $40,848 $54,456
G $30,012 $45,744 $61,500
H $34,188 $52,140 $70,080
I $38,988 $59,424 $79,908
J $43,716 $67,740 $91,812
K $50,712 $78,600 $106,488
L $58,836 $91,176 $123,528
M $68,232 $105,756 $143,292
N $80,508 $124,788 $169,068
O $93,492 $147,252 $201,024
P $110,340 $173,760 $237,192
Q $126,396 $199,056 $271,728
R $151,668 $238,872 $326,088