Team Interview - Pierre Perrin, General Manager and Electronics Design Engineer

Interviewing Pierre Perrin, General Manager at Systork and Electronics Design Engineer

(The following interview was conducted in French, what you’re reading here is a translated version.)

Q: What is your role and position at Systork?

Pierre Perrin:

I’m the general manager and electronics design engineer at Systork. I look after the day-to-day running of the design office, as well as project management and monitoring.

And for the electronics part, I’m responsible for designing the cards, both the basic electronics and the embedded systems, and integrating them into the product.

Q: What was your career path and how did you end up joining Systork?


I worked for a few years in IT in the banking sector, so nothing to do with Systork, but I had also trained in electronics and had a bit of experience in it. After a few years in IT, I wanted to go back to electronics. I spent a short period at Drotek with Romain, and at some point we decided to start our own design office: Systork.

Q: And what was the most exciting project you were able to work on?


It was a recording system for a walking route. I think it was the most complex project we had, involving both analogue and digital electronics; analogue isn’t something we do very often. There was also a large amount of testing to be done, on how to filter the data, how to work with it.

Beyond the design, there was a big math and physics part, which was quite interesting.

There was a huge weight constraint: it had to be as small, as discreet, as compact and as light as possible. At the same time, we had to provide an IMU, GPS, data processing and Bluetooth communication.

Q: How long did it take?


It lasted maybe six months or less over the last year with phases of full-time work on it. It’s a project that’s also evolved a lot, at the start we didn’t think we’d need an IMU. We did a lot of tests, and realized that we’d have to add another sensor and another filter. It took a while and we had quite a few prototypes.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?


At the moment, I’m working on Wren mini, a project for the online shop, which is slowly being launched. The idea behind Wren mini is to have a card that’s specially designed for drones, with a small RTK board and a small magnetometer.

And the idea is to have something very compact, very discreet, where you just plug it in and it works. It’s in a small box that will end up on the drone.

Q: Is Wren mini exclusive to drones or can it be used for something else?


Adding a magnetometer makes it very drone-specific. But, in absolute terms, it can be used elsewhere.

The fact that we’ve grouped the magnetometer and GPS together and reduced the size and weight to this extent slightly reduces performance but makes it very compatible in a drone. So you could use it on another machine, but that’s not its primary purpose.

Q: What are the main challenges you face in your work and how do you overcome them?


The main challenge is to find the balance between organisation and electronics design. Management is something that takes more time than I expected. The advice would be to regularly take half a day to put everything in order and not to underestimate the workload that it is.

What’s often difficult in electronics is debugging because you have to find the problem in a mixture of both electronics and software. You never know at first where the issue is coming from, and what gets me through in the end is that Romain and I get on and know each other well. In fact, it’s important to work with people you can trust, with whom you can communicate quickly and easily to solve problems and move forward.

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