Junior Embedded Systems Software Engineer (Summer 2021)

Zipline · South San Francisco, CA

Engineering Health & Well-Being Posted 1 month ago

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Do you want to change the world? Zipline uses drones to deliver critical and life-saving medicine to thousands of hospitals serving millions of people in multiple countries. Our mission is to provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. Join Zipline and help us make this a reality for billions of people.


Embedded Systems Engineers at Zipline go deep in their area of ownership, become experts in the problem domain, define requirements for their systems, rapidly develop creative and simple solutions, and prove with testing and data that their system meets the rigors and edge-cases of real-world deployment. Zipline's Embedded Systems Engineers also contribute beyond their field--reviewing schematics, building user interfaces, designing hardware in the loop test systems and leading teams.

Zipline designs and operates the world’s largest drone delivery service providing access to critical medical supplies. Leading the way in drone delivery often means exceeding the capabilities of what’s available off the shelf and as a result we are engineering the majority of our system in-house. Doubling down on the reliability of our systems and inventing new robots is critical path to delivering to our next billion customers--people whose lives will be meaningfully affected by smarter, more equitable access. We are deliberately expanding our embedded systems capabilities and adding to our team to achieve these goals.


  • Refine the embedded application, drivers, controls, simulation and user interfaces for the recovery and launcher systems to enable reliable and safe 24/7 operation
  • Harden the cellular communications stack from cellular driver to internet protocol to ensure reliable and continuous command and control
  • Select, implement and demonstrate the functionality of a high-precision GPS system to allow for accurate delivery at a fraction of the cost
  • Enable the flight system to be robust to environmental interference by developing a hard fault handler, watchdog and an automatic failover on a pair of TMS570 processors
  • Streamline the preflight process, reducing time to GPS fix, decreasing false preflight failures, and eliminate operator touchpoints
  • Immediately respond to, reproduce and root cause failures so that everyone can get their medical products when they need them
  • Find ways to make the codebase better for other engineers through every feature you build, for example removing tech debt or cruft, adding debugging or logging tools, increasing test coverage, improving toolchains or build times, etc.
  • Anticipate, plan and schedule your own work


We evaluate candidates holistically, but prior successful employees have all had strong C and experience rapidly developing functional embedded software in a real time operating system or embedded linux. Additionally, any of the following would be a plus:

  • Fluency in C programming language. Python or Rust a plus.
  • You’ve deployed electromechanical systems to the field and seen how well they work (or don’t)
  • You’ve brought up a processor running an RTOS or Embedded Linux
  • You’ve built hardware and software systems specifically designed to test your work
  • Familiarity with RS-485, I2C, CANbus, Ethernet, SPI, and similar
  • Familiarity with electrical design, including schematic review and component selection
  • You’ve implemented a feedback control loop (like PID) and tuned it in real life
  • You’ve worked with perception systems, localization (GPS, IMU etc.), flight controls, or radios
  • The ideal candidate may not have all of the following skills and experience. If any of these apply, you might be a good fit!


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!

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