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Systems Modeling Engineering 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 Systems Modeling Team

The Systems Modeling Team has tremendous power to shape Zipline’s products. We develop physics-based models and use them to architect our aircraft, as well as the supporting logistics system. Using simulation, we can rapidly explore a vast array of designs to optimize future products, and we can find ways to squeeze more performance out of our existing products.

Systems Modeling brings diverse teams and fields together (e.g. mechanical, aerodynamics, electrical, battery chemistry, thermal, controls, fleet operations, economics) to gain new insights. We translate technical conversations into rigorously framed engineering problems. We value asking pertinent questions and generating coherent answers.

The Role

Leading the way in drone delivery requires pushing the limits of individual component technologies and carefully orchestrating which ones we put together to optimize the performance of the complete vehicle. How much of the benefit of a larger motor is counteracted by its aerodynamic penalty? How much range are we willing to give up for extra payload capacity? How do we optimally control battery charging – electrically and thermally – to strike a balance between turnaround time and battery longevity?

If these types of questions get you excited, you’re in the right place. Zipline is seeking an engineering intern that can see the big-picture couplings between subsystems, and then build the models and code infrastructure to simulate them. These simulations will directly drive critical architectural and operational decisions at the aircraft and fleet level.

What You'll Do

  • Build physics-based models that underlie aircraft performance simulations
  • Develop computational tools to automate high-level design trades, optimizations, and sensitivity studies
  • Analyze test data to validate vehicle component models
  • Devise frameworks for optimizing high-level control strategies

What You'll Bring

  • A drive to help people and make the world a better place
  • Passion for tackling challenging multidisciplinary problems
  • A strong grasp of classical physics
  • The ability to recognize and model interactions between physical components and subsystems
  • Expertise in Matlab, Python, Julia, or similar, for modeling, simulation, optimization, and/or data analysis

Nice to have:

  • Basic understanding of batteries, electric motors, and/or aircraft dynamics; and typical approaches to modeling them
  • Proficiency in numerical methods
  • Experience interpreting experimental data
  • Experience with model-based systems design, ideally in an extracurricular setting

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.