Team Interview - Romain Trome, President of Systork

Interviewing Romain Trome, President of Systork and Embedded Software 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?

Romain Trome:

I have two roles, a technical one and an administrative one. The administrative role involves the presidency, accounting and management of the company.

The technical role consists of working in the field of embedded computing and involves tasks such as designing Android applications or Linux applications.

Q: Can you tell us how Systork came into being?


When did it start? Around three years ago. Basically, at that time, I was Manager of Drotek’s design office

My objective was either to continue on my own by setting up a company, or perhaps to continue with Drotek for a while… We agreed with Drotek that perhaps one of the best ideas was to set up a company in Alsace that would be their subsidiary.

And so it began. After that, what happened was that I brought Pierre into the loop. I’d known Pierre for several years. I knew he had the electronic skills I needed.

One thing led to another, and Systork finally gained its independence. In other words, we’re no longer a subsidiary of Drotek. We’re a separate entity, of which I am now President… And Pierre became General Manager of the company.

Q: Where did your vocation and interest in embedded computing come from?


I’ve been developing since I was a kid.

I started developing at the age of 12-13 maybe. I used to assemble computers in my parents’ house. Next to their bedroom, I had servers running.

Basically, I was working with Windows. I wanted to know how the software worked. It was weird: you double-click on something and it’s full of little tricks that you don’t really understand. So I wondered how it worked. My first link with computing was precisely this research into how an application worked, how a binary worked.

I used to read Windows documentation to find out how it worked. It was awful. Then we managed to get Internet at home, and things got better.

So I started coding in C. My first projects in C were after middle school, when I made a little Mario game. The first levels worked well, but the following ones, not so well.

After that, when I finished high school, I already had a good level. So I thought it wouldn’t be very worthwhile to go to a computer science technical college. I wasn’t really sure that I’d learn much more in C, compared to what I’d learned on my own. So I went for a DUT in electronics. Precisely to learn something different.

Can you tell us about some of the projects you’re working on at the moment?


Right now I’m working on a port of PX4, an open source autopilot. I ported it for a different microcontroller target. Basically, PX4 is an autopilot stack, except that it works on certain very limited targets.

In this case, we need it for a positioning probe application , with a specific architecture and a specific microcontroller. Neither the architecture nor the microcontroller were available on the PX4 stack. So I was in charge of porting the whole autopilot part to this specific microcontroller.

There are other projects at the moment. One of them is to build a self-steering boat. The boat has four motors. Here we have a boat that has no control law in the public domain, because it’s something very specific. Moreover, being water-based adds an extra layer of complexity, making it quite unique. Autopilot systems tailored for aquatic environments are relatively scarce.

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