Since being founded in 2015, Ascend has competed with top universities across the globe in various autonomous aerial drone competitions. Every year we admit new members to fill our team of 50 students across several groups, both technical and non-technical. We are looking for students who are motivated to learn and passionate about the work that they will do. You don't have to be a PhD student to join! we will get you up to speed during our start-up period in early September. Scroll down to see our positions.
Positions we offer
Hardware is responsible for all physical parts of the drone as well as any other physical systems that come with it. As a hardware member you and your team will develop our drones from concept to final product. During the development process you will use CAD software to design and test different prototypes, learning and applying methods such as strength calculation, generative design, and flow simulation. Drone development also requires rigorous physical testing, including test-flights. We also design custom circuit boards for the drone, including the onboard power delivery systems and battery-packs needed to keep it airborne. We utilize many different production- and design techniques such as carbon fiber infusion and 3D-printing. We do most of the work in our own workshop, but also cooperate with external sponsors and experts. If you enjoy working with design and practical tasks, then hardware is the group for you!
The Perception group gets the drone to sense its surroundings, understand what it sees and know where it is at all times. We use video and data from several cameras and a wide array of sensors. The perception group processes and combines the data so that it becomes useful for the other groups. A large part of the work in Perception is in computer vision, using both classical computer vision and machine learning to make programs that interpret images and video. As a Perception member you will learn about several different techniques and algorithms for signal processing, but most importantly find your own creative solutions.
As a member of the Autonomy group, you will be creating the brains of our drones. Your work will consist of giving drones the decision-making ability required to successfully and efficiently complete our missions. With everything from classical high-performance algorithms to state-of-the-art AI-methods, the Autonomy group empowers our drones to identify objectives and take strategic action to succeed in their mission.
This involves everything from simulating high-level mission planning to low-level mechanisms for managing the numerous complex systems of the drone. You will also develop and maintain our in-house simulator which allows us to rapidly develop our systems without crashing our drones so often. To sum it up: You will get insight into state-of-the-art autonomy techniques as you program how our drones interpret their surroundings, predict movement of objects around them and decide where they will fly to next - all while flying at speeds up to 100km/h.
The Control group is responsible for everything that moves on the drone, making sure that every movement is precise, stable and perfectly controlled. We are the link between software and the physical world! As a member of Control you will become familiar with a wide set of systems on all abstraction levels. This includes low-level software development such as microcontrollers, flight computers, and telemetry. We also use motion capture technology and simulation to analyze and perfect the drone’s movement.
One unique aspect of a Control member's role is actually flying drones, as getting a “feel” for the drone furthers our understanding of the drone’s dynamics. As a member of Control you will be at the center of prototyping, testing and development, which will leave you with a diverse skill set and a unique perspective on drone technology.
Any great project starts with a great foundation; any complex system you can imagine relies on strong roots to function. The same goes for Ascend, which is why we are looking for you to join the DevOps group. The DevOps group is responsible for our critical software infrastructure. Everything from servers, development platforms and automated testing and deployment. As a member of the DevOps group, you will become familiar with running Linux servers, both locally and in the cloud. You'll become familiar with advanced operating systems systems topics like containers and virtual machines that allow our systems to run smoothly across a plethora of device configurations. The group also designs and administers our network infrastructure and data links, keeping all our drones and computers reliably connected, even during flights far from the base station. This is quite important when our drones traverse as diverse terrains as ocean and dense forests!
In addition, the group is quite new, so you'll have to option to shape your role and to create new software for Ascend. This could range from serious stuff like our CV platform that we use to connect members with sponsors, to fun little projects such as our Slack-connected coffee maker. If you are interested in servers, cloud computing and agile software development, the DevOps group is the place for you!
To run a technical organization without money is like flying a drone without electricity. You can restructure it all you want, but it won’t go very far! This is why we created the Business group.
Business is Ascend’s newest group and will be responsible for Ascend sources of income, sponsor relations, and all events organized by Ascend.We are looking for key account managers who can help us manage our sponsorships. This includes everything from managing sponsor relations, looking for collaborative opportunities with current sponsors, as well as outreach to new potential sponsors and negotiating new sponsorships. You will also work actively to find other sources of revenue outside of classic sponsorships, such as public grants and the like. You are going to have a lot of responsibility ensuring that Ascend has the funds it needs to perform at its very best!
We are also looking for great event managers. During the year we have many different events ranging from private events for the team (like our cabin trips), to outreach campaigns at NTNU and in Trondheim. We even have to organize international travel, such as trips to the USA for IARC! We need people who can organize such events to the extent that everyone performs at their very best, and can have the best time possible here at Ascend. If this sounds like you, then you might be one of our next event managers!
Since the business group is brand new, you will have a lot of opportunity to shape your role and innovate with new ideas in collaboration with the rest of the group. You will also gain invaluable organizational skills which will help you long after your time here in Ascend
As our graphical designer you will have a lot of power to shape the Ascend brand. Your work will range from logos to posters to graphics for stands and shaping the layout of our newsletters. You will be desigining merch, from our hoodies and piques to pins and medals. You will work on translating the ideas we use in our software systems and turn them into beatiful visualisations. You will work with the rest of Marketing to make sure that Ascend keeps looking professional and cohesive towards the rest of the world. You'll get experience using the Adobe CC suite to create wonderful vector and raster graphics. You will also have the freedom to work with 3D visualization and motion design in collaboration with the videographer and web developer.
Do you want to develop a full-stack, scalable and graphically impressive website? As a web developer, you will be responsible for further developing and maintaining this very website. It will also be your job to showcase who we are, our goals and what challenges we face in an interactive and exciting way - perhaps by creating an app or game? You will work closely with the rest of the marketing team to further develop Ascend’s image outward. You will get a course in web-development if you don’t have any experience with this beforehand.
Are you someone who likes to think about how to engage people? Are you fascinated by the ways different mediums and presentations can affect how people perceive the same thing? Do you want to collaborate with other organisations to increase Ascend’s outreach? Then you could be our new social media manager.
We are looking for someone who likes strategy and wants to develop our image and social media presence. You will become part of the marketing team and work to promote Ascend online, and also interact with the other technical organizations at NTNU, helping generate interest for the awesome work done by NTNUs students. You will coordinate our marketing campaigns and decide how we use our SoMe channels to most effectively reach our target audiences, communicate our messages, and make sure that Ascend is known among students at NTNU and among potential sponsors!
Do you love an elegant sentence? Do you love how weird symbols on a page have the ability to affect how people think and feel? Do you hate it when you cannot figure out what a sentence is even trying to say? You, my friend, may be our new writer!
We are looking for someone who can help us communicate clearly and effectively with students and sponsors. We need someone who can condense highly technical information into a clear understandable package while at the same time transmitting the excitement we feel about the work that we do. You will write articles and newsletters that engage students and sponsors alike about the work that we do here at Ascend. You will work closely with the marketing leader to ensure that Ascend is represented well in writing and will collaborate with the rest of the organization to produce writing that shows not just what we do, but who we are.
Ascend is looking for a videographer/filmmaker, who can help us engage students and sponsors about the work we do and autonomous drones in general! If you are looking to tell stories about the challenges of technological development and want to excite people about the possibilities of autonomous flight, you are the person we are looking for!
You will be filming and editing videos to highlight Ascend’s work and educate people about what it takes to create a system capable of autonomous flight. You will be working closely with the social media manager, photographer, and marketing leader to shape Ascend’s video strategy and will have a lot of room to shape the direction of Ascend’s video endeavours. You will learn how to operate a camera for videography and will have access to our DJI drone for aerial shots. You will also learn how to go from individual clips to a finished video using the Adobe CC suite. If you have some experience with, or an interest in, motion graphics or 3D modelling this is a great addition*!
*But is by no means necessary! We know we are asking for a lot here :)
REACH NEW HEIGHTS
Joining Ascend is a unique opportunity to work on an innovative project using cutting edge technology to solve some of the most challenging problems in cybernetics and autonomy. You will also get valuable organizational experience by working in a team. Previous knowledge is not a requirement - all you need is dedication and willingness to learn!
Why should you apply?
Join an empowering environment
By joining Ascend you become part of a great team where you'll work together with other passionate and skilled students. Our goal is to learn and help each other reach new heights
Apply theory to the real world
At Ascend you are able to take your theoretical knowledge from the lecture hall into real life. Ever wondered how you'll apply all that math they cram into your head? Come join us and we'll show you
Combine it with your studies
We work hard to ensure that you are able to combine your time in Ascend without sacrificing your studies. Several of our members have even written their thesis about the work they do in Ascend.
Gain organizational experience
At Ascend you will not only gain a lot of valuable experience on the tasks you are working with, but also with how it is to work in a team. This turns out to be quite useful not just for your time in Ascend, but for the rest of your life
Work with cutting edge technology
Be a part of an organization that uses and develops state of the art technology within the field of autonomous robotics. From machine learning to carbon fiber manufacturing; We do it all!
Have a great time!
While we do a lot of serious technical work we also want our members to have a great time! This is volunteer work, not a job. That's why we arrange social events from Mario Kart tournaments to cabin trips for all our members!