Port automation: Lots of fascinating challenges to solve
Meet Otto Esko, Senior Software Engineer at Kalmar, who is working with spearhead technologies in a global team – and seeing his childhood dreams come true.
Q: What were your passions for your future work when you were young?
When I was a kid, Gyro Gearloose was my favourite Donald Duck character, and I could hardly wait to see what kind of inventions he would think up next. I’ve always been fascinated by technology and figured out at an early age that I wanted to be an engineer.
Later, I got interested in interfacing between hardware and software; that’s what I studied and what I’ve been working with ever since.
Q: Why Kalmar?
I knew someone working at Kalmar who told me there was an open position. I didn’t have experience in cargo handling, but the industry was appealing, port automation seemed to provide a lot of fascinating problems to solve, and it piqued my boyish interest in big machines.
Q: What do you do at Kalmar?
I work with horizontal transportation, with equipment that moves containers from one crane to another. My field is the onboard software that replaces a driver and handles driving, navigation and container handling.
Q: What makes your job meaningful and satisfying?
Working with a spearhead technology, for one thing. Automatic navigation and driving is a huge topic, not only in port automation, but with all kinds of vehicles, autonomous cars and so on.
From another point of view, port automation can yield huge benefits for our customers and decrease the costs of handling cargo. When we make those boxes move automatically, efficiently and predictably, we’ll actually have an effect on everyone in the world.
Then of course, our backyard is unique. We have real machines at the Kalmar Technology and Competence Centre test yard here in Tampere, and advanced simulators, too, for fast and easy testing.
Q: What is the atmosphere like?
I’m working in a global team, my technical supervisor is in Sydney and Kalmar sites are all over the world. It is surprisingly fluent cooperation despite the distances. Nowadays, there are more and more developers here in Tampere.
Nice people, relaxed and open atmosphere, continuously evolving processes, what else can one hope for?
Q: What made you happy today at work?
Well, we have been developing a remote control for straddles and testing that with simulators quite a lot. It was hooked onto a real machine for the first time, and it worked just as it was expected to.
Education: Master of Science in Embedded Systems, Tampere University of Technology (TUT).
Primary working experience: Researcher at TUT, SW developer, joined Kalmar in 2016.
Family: wife and two golden retrievers.
Hobbies: mountain biking and cycling, and water rescue training and other activities with dogs especially.