Vice President Cube Success

Synnøve Matre


“The Cube control software is the absolute key in the AutoStore system. Without the software the robots would simply not move. So someone has to tell them where to go, which bins to move and in which sequence, and so on.”

Engineering is for everyone

Synnøve Matre has worked with technology and development for 33 years, and she describes exciting and varied workdays. Now, she urges young people to follow in her footsteps – and especially young women. – We need more engineers!  

Matre’s days at AutoStore are varied and busy. As Vice President Cube Success she takes part in planning the company’s future. And as product owner of AutoStore’s core software, while also being responsible for testing, there’s never a shortage of things to do. 

And it doesn’t look like abating any time soon. 

The general demand for engineers and technologists is considerable, according, among other sources, to NITO’s yearly needs survey from 2023. 

Matre is no stranger to the challenge.  

– In IT and technology, recruiting enough talent is especially difficult. And it’s not like we’re going to need technology any less in the future. Going into these fields, your chances of landing an exciting and well paid job are high, says Matre. 

Worked on the first prototype

Matre started at Hatteland in 1990 – according to herself, following a string of luck and coincidence. 

– I was unsure of what I wanted to study, but I loved math and logic, and ended up studying IT and economics in Bø in Telemark. From there, I got a summer job working in the technical department at Hatteland, she says. 

That technical department eventually turned into Hatteland Computer, the progenitor company of AutoStore. 

– The first few years I was a developer, focusing on programming and testing. From 1999, I started working on the very first prototype of AutoStore, together with Ingvar Hognaland. Hognaland was then Chief of Technology in the Hatteland Group, and the inventor of AutoStore. 

No female colleagues

When Matre first started at Hatteland, she was the only woman in the technical department, and that lasted years. 

Conversely, Hatteland Electronics employed many women at that time, and Matre commends the lengths the company went to keep them there. 

– They were very good at retaining these talented women, for instance, by implementing a daycare at work. 

Lately, the number of women working at AutoStore has risen, but they are still outnumbered. 

– For me, the most important thing is to have an environment where everyone contributes together, and whether you’re a man or a woman doesn’t really play into that. But then, a mix creates a better work environment, and luckily more women are coming into AutoStore – and into the R&D department as well, says Matre, adding: 

– I have amazing colleagues around me, men and women! 

– Only about 25 % of Norwegian engineers are women. Why do you think that is? 

– I think it has a lot to do with traditional hobbies. That a divide starts to show already at an early age. Many young boys are gaming, playing with computers, and develop an early interest. That can create a head start for them, that girls worry they can’t catch up to, says Matre. 

A matter of confidence

Matre also plays up the effects of confidence. 

– This is really a fundamental difference. Many girls and women are more prone to think «I’ll never be able to do this», while boys will have a «I’ll handle this easily» attitude. But these women’s way of thinking really is nonsense. There’s absolutely no reason why women shouldn’t master this line of work as well as men, clarifies Matre. 

She thinks better information in schools could make a real difference in getting more girls interested in IT and technology. 

– I think that showing early that these aren’t just «boy things» is a big positive. Get girls to realize they’re not «already falling behind», and, importantly, show that technology is not dangerous. I get the impression that this work is underway now. Schools are now implementing technology into education a lot more. 

She also highlights the many programs and events for girls that are being hosted around the country, and in Haugesund. 

– Girl Tech Fest, for example, where young girls can try their hand at coding, designing and testing technology for a full day. 

– We need everything

Matre is often asked what kind of education you’d need to work at AutoStore. 

– The truth is, we need everything. From mechanical engineers drawing robot construction, to coders and engineers making websites. There’s an incredible amount of different technologies!


Name:  Synnøve Matre

Age: 53

Profession:  Vice President Cube Success

Background:  College degree of economics and IT, Bø i Telemark