The time that software engineering was reserved for computer scientists has passed. “We see more and more talented enthusiasts who code their own programs,” notices André Prins, technical manager at ALTEN Nederland. “But people sometimes underestimate the complexity of creating a solid base for their applications”. Together with RoboHouse, ALTEN is launching a training programme for innovators who want to up their game and make software that is solid and trustworthy, resulting in better robotics.

More than 30.000 engineers
ALTEN was founded more than 30 years ago in France, and since then has grown out to a world leader in engineering and technology consulting, with more than 30.000 engineers helping to generate an annual turnover of €2,6 bn. The company, driven by engineers, carries out studies and concept productions for major customers in industrial and service sectors. In addition to supporting development strategies, they do development & design, supply chain & quality, testing and so on. This gives them the expertise they so wholeheartedly want to share.

“Our consultants just love working with new challenges.”

Sander Timmerman, division director at ALTEN Netherlands

Looking for new challenges
“We want to support students and entrepreneurial talent in robotics with going from a prototype to a viable product,” Sander Timmerman, division director at ALTEN Netherlands, explains. When asked why ALTEN would be bothered with working at such a small scale, he does not hesitate: “ALTEN wants to reinvest in society, and also, our consultants just love working with new challenges. Seeing the eagerness of young people with fresh ideas gives them energy”.

Marieke Acquoij, business manager for ALTEN in Eindhoven, with an engineering colleague.

Unfamiliar territory
Jaimy Siebel, managing partner at RoboHouse, emphasises that this is going to be a very practical partnership: “In Delft we believe in progress by doing, by experimenting with new things. And for people in our community who want to make their software robust and scalable, this training programme should make this a lot easier.”

“This programme is for people who want to make their software robust and scalable.”

Jaimy Siebel, managing partner at RoboHouse

Python for non-software engineers
RoboAcademy will promote and organise the courses in RoboHouse. To kick-off the partnership, RoboAcademy offers their first training with ALTEN in the beginning of January: Python for non-software engineers. This 3-day training in RoboHouse is available for everyone with an interest in robotics. “We want to start with Python because it is intuitive and relatively easy to learn”, say Eva Leurink, manager of RoboAcademy.  “Python is also a stepping stone to the ROS Training, which is about a modular software stack for robot developers. Kind of like Lego!” So save-the-date for 11, 13 and 15 January and enrolment is possible soon via RoboAcademy.

The Robot soccer alliance
All this started with Martin Klomp, the three men agree. Martin; now secretary of the Robotics Institute and responsible for the Robotics Minor in RoboHouse, but then part of ALTEN; used to organise a yearly competition of robot soccer. RoboHouse also played in these tournaments. After some years, Martin became a teacher at TU Delft. But he kept in touch with his former employer, and now they re-join to help more people start programming in robotics.

Jaimy Siebel, concludes the encounter with a toast: “It is very exciting to work with ALTEN. You are going to energise our young community, for sure. With solid expertise that we can build on.”