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Guidance, Navigation, & Controls (GNC) Intern [Fall 2024]



South San Francisco, CA, USA
Posted on Saturday, May 4, 2024

About Zipline

Zipline is on a mission to transform the way goods move. Our aim is to solve the world’s most urgent and complex access challenges by building the first instant logistics system that serves all humans equally. Leveraging expertise in robotics and autonomy, Zipline designs, builds, and operates a fleet of cutting edge, autonomous delivery drones. We serve tens of millions of people around the world.

Joining Zipline’s Emerging Talent program as an intern is an opportunity to contribute to our promise of building a system that provides equitable access to critical healthcare supplies for millions of people. We believe that internships are more than just opportunities to learn by watching or doing low level tasks. We expect our interns to take on meaningful work that actively contributes to moving Zipline’s mission forward, while learning real-world skills that will serve them in their careers for the long term.

Join us, and build the future of logistics with the best humans around!

About the GNC Team

Our Guidance, Navigation, and Controls (GNC) team is at the heart of Zipline’s product success - we are responsible for developing, testing and maintaining some of the critical flight software systems that enable our aircraft to complete missions autonomously, from takeoff through to predicting and executing a successful delivery, through to landing safely and accurately. We develop novel solutions to give us the responsiveness, robustness and quality we need to ensure our delivery platforms can function in a wide range of increasingly challenging conditions and truly serve everyone in the world equally.

The Role

Zipline’s people thrive on finding elegant solutions to complex problems, given what exists today and what we can develop to maturity quickly and confidently. We stay close to our customers, learn what really works, and find where we can put the leverage to make a big difference for them now.

As an intern on the GNC team, you will learn how we fly autonomous aircraft in a range of challenging flight conditions. Using data from flight testing and simulation as well as our global fleet of customer aircraft, you will be looking for insights that can help improve our design. Through this you’ll have the opportunity to make changes to our aircraft controls that measurably improve our product - your work will not just be theoretical; you will have the opportunity to see your contributions fly!

What You'll Do

  • Contribute to the design, implementation, testing and release of innovative flight algorithms that improve the operational performance of our vehicle controllers
  • Create tools and tests to demonstrate your design performance and protect against software regressions, using both theoretical guarantees and simulations
  • Analyze flight data to assess recent changes and upgrades, looking for regressions and potential areas for future improvement
  • Design onboard integrity tests to communicate when the system performance is degraded
  • Present key results and changes to the broader engineering team

What You'll Bring

  • Your applied math skills stand out even among aerospace engineers.
  • You think simulations and working with hardware are both fun.
  • You have owned and developed controls solutions for a team project, thesis, or competition
  • Exposure in one or more of the following areas: precision integrated inertial navigation, dynamic modeling of complex systems, linear control analysis, or optimal control with uncertainty.
  • Software engineering skills, preferably with both embedded software (C, C++) and technical computing (MATLAB, python, Julia, etc.). Experience with Github and working in a multi-developer environment is an advantage.

What Else You Need to Know

Our internships are full-time positions, in-person at our South San Francisco office. We will host our Fall 2024 interns from September to December.

The starting cash range for this role is $36 - 40 / hour. Please note that this is a target, starting cash range for a candidate who meets the minimum qualifications for this role. The final cash pay for this role will depend on a variety of factors, including a specific candidate's experience, qualifications, skills, and working location. The total compensation package for this role may also include: overtime pay; commuter benefits; paid sick time; and more.

Zipline is an equal opportunity employer and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws or our own sensibilities.

We value diversity at Zipline and welcome applications from those who are traditionally underrepresented in tech. If you like the sound of this position but are not sure if you are the perfect fit, please apply!

Zipline is also committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. Please let your point of contact at Zipline know if you require any accommodations throughout your interview process.