A day in the life of AI & Robotics Engineers at Kiwibot

May 31, 2022

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be an AI&Robotics engineer? Well, lucky for you, we will show you the day-to-day of two of our engineers at Kiwibot, from sunup to sundown.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Rafael Rincón and Pedro González. Enjoy their stories and get ready to have fun!

A day in the life of

Rafael, 27, is a Computer Vision Engineer at Kiwibot, which means he is one of the guys that guarantees the robot is able to see the world around it and decides what to do with all the data it sees.

No alt text provided for this image

The first thing Rafa does every single day is to check his calendar and the meetings he will have. He thinks that his job is fantastic, even when there are days with more meetings than time to code.

While he gets ready to go to the office, he eats some eggs with mushrooms, tomatoes, and yogurt for breakfast. As soon as he arrives, he starts doing tests with the robots. Also, he is very involved in research, but much of his time is spent in front of the computer coding in Python and C++.

On top of his full-time job as an engineer, he leads the CMO office. As Chief of the Meme Office, it is his duty to keep the spirits up inside the team. Sadly, he found out too late that no one was going to pay him for making memes and making everyone laugh, so this is just his hobby along with going to concerts and reading.

Robotics engineering

First things first, at this point maybe you are wondering, what is robotics engineering? As Rafa says, “It is a field of engineering where you develop machines with a certain degree of autonomy in order to perform very specific tasks.” In the case of Kiwibot, our electric robot is in charge of making last-mile delivery from the restaurant to your doorstep.

In contrast to other fields of engineering, the robotics career is new and in constant development, and there are a lot of questions yet to be answered. That is one of the most exciting things that Rafa and his team find out in their robotics jobs. Everyday he works on a problem that no one has solved before, and that is challenging and thrilling because he could be developing and researching at the same time, and that's why he considers himself a lucky guy.

Believe it or not, Rafa did other things before getting into robotics. From law school to music, technology was his definitive and final call. He studied mechatronics engineering and had his first steps in robotics. Just like love at first sight, he fell in love with them and it was the beginning of a very solid relationship. As he says, “Robotics can be time-demanding and crazy sometimes, but we have managed to stick together all these years and this is just the beginning.”

Working at Kiwibot

At the end of those years, Rafa started as a junior engineer at Kiwibot. It is his first real job and it turned out to be a job in applied robotics. Initially, as the startup world demands, he had to do a little bit of everything. Eventually, he started to work constantly with cameras, artificial intelligence and finally in computer vision, his current work line.

For Rafa, the most important thing about working in robotics at Kiwibot is to feel that every single thing he does has a direct impact on the robot, which means a direct impact on the company. Each feature he creates can make life easier for everyone who has contact with our delivery bots. For him, having the possibility to make a positive impact on people's lives is just mind-blowing and a huge responsibility as well.

Last but not least, teamwork is key in the robotics team. The fact that the main product of Kiwibot is a robot, makes it necessary to work synchronously. Like Rafa says, “My team must be like a Swiss watch, with good communication, even if every member has a very-well defined task, you need to be coordinated with others.”

Finally, if you want to enter the robotics field, Rafa has some advice for you: “Curiosity has to be your number one quality and you have to be very flexible as well. Robotics involves everything from math and physics to programming and machine learning. You don't have to know everything, but it is very useful to be able to understand all the processes inside the robot. Most importantly, never forget your social and soft skills. Have you ever seen this kind of lonely genius in the movies always capable of doing everything by himself or herself?  Well, that's a LIE! Robotics is all about teamwork, always.”

The day-to-day of

Pedro, 24, is a Robotics Engineer in charge of improving the autonomous capabilities of the Kiwibots. In a few words, he tells the robots how to safely move in the wild.

No alt text provided for this image

He gets to the office at 9:00 a.m. and starts working on 3 or 4 different big projects about teaching robots how to navigate just like humans do. At 12:00 p.m. he shares lunch with his coworkers and spends this time chatting and making plans for the weekend. He leaves the office at 6:00 pm and at home he studies, plays video games, or watches movies (not about robots) before going to sleep at 11:00 p.m.

Robotics engineering

For Pedro, the most satisfying part of his job is seeing the robot finally doing something he had been working on for so long, like moving safely by gathering data from the environment and transforming it into useful information to plan and execute the movement. Now Pedro specializes in location and navigation, two of the most common problems in mobile robotics.

If you are wondering how he entered the world of robotics; well, he has had a curious mind since he was young, always wanting to understand how things work. He studied mechatronics engineering as he was particularly interested in robotics because it involves different skills working together to solve complex problems. As he says, “Robotics careers are a field in which Computer Science can be seen in action on mechanical systems that move just like humans do.”

Working at Kiwibot

Similarly to Rafa, Pedro joined Kiwibot as a Jr. Robotics Engineer. Since then, he has worked on making our delivery bots more capable of navigating autonomously in the unknown, something that involves many engineering challenges that he is continuously dealing with.

Overall, being part of a startup is working with a very talented group of people with different backgrounds and expertise, and this allows Pedro to learn from them and get better every day. He really likes the startup-like diverse work environment and the chance to have a balance between life and work.

Also, the most exciting part of working at Kiwibot is to make history and show that engineering teams from any place in the world can now be competitive in the tech ecosystem.

If you got here it is probably because you are waiting for Pedro's advice. Here you go: If you are thinking about robotics careers or if you are trying to join a robotics job, “you should get involved with robotics while you are at University. The field of robotics is characterized by the availability of high-quality open-source software. Look for tutorials that make the journey of being a robotics engineer much smoother. You don’t even need a robot to start! Just do it, you won't regret it!”

PS:  If these stories inspired you and you want to work at Kiwibot, please visit https://www.kiwibot.com/careers and apply now!

María José Guzmán R.