Senior Firmware Engineer

Palo Alto, CA /
Heaviside – Hardware Engineering /
Here at Kitty Hawk in Palo Alto, we are leading the race to market with our all-electric  Vertical Take off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.  Project Heaviside is Kitty Hawk’s latest high-performance electric VTOL vehicle. It is designed to be fast, small, and exceedingly quiet, taking advantage of new possibilities to free people from traffic. 

As a member of the Heaviside team, you will design, implement, and verify microcontroller flight firmware for Heaviside’s avionics systems -- from the motor controllers to the flight computer. You will work closely with hardware and system engineers to deliver high-quality, flight-critical avionics designs, as well as rigorous firmware test strategies and test automation for those designs. As a firmware specialist, it will also be your role to guide and expand the overall firmware ecosystem for Heaviside, and to identify and champion common firmware patterns and tools. The ideal candidate will be a motivated, detail-oriented engineer passionate about both firmware development and firmware verification, in a fast-paced, startup environment.

You should be familiar with all, proficient with most and expert at some of the following, in no particular order:

    • C++ and its use in real-time, safety-critical embedded systems
    • Details of the ARM Cortex-M architecture and its use in bare-metal environments
    • On-chip and external peripheral driver development, and the effective use of interrupts, polling, and DMA in firmware designs
    • Bus protocols such as SPI, I2C, RS-422, and Ethernet
    • Software unit test and integration test development, and the design of software for testability and introspection
    • Use of development tools such as debuggers, oscilloscopes, and logic analyzers
    • Examination of component datasheets and hardware schematics
    • Excellent technical communication skills

Desired Experience:

    • Development of software for fault-tolerant/redundant embedded systems
    • Development of automation tools with Python
    • Use of continuous integration pipelines and software deployment systems
    • Configuration of compiler toolchains and build systems
    • Development of software in a command-line-oriented Linux environment
    • Operation in a DO-178C environment

Within 3 months you will:

    • Familiarize yourself with Heaviside systems and avionics components
    • Write and fly firmware for the Heaviside aircraft
    • Contribute to firmware test automation

Within 6 months you will:

    • Take responsibility for the firmware of a significant Heaviside subsystem
    • Identify and take ownership of key elements of the Heaviside shared codebase
    • Make substantial firmware test and automation contributions

    • You should be able to work independently and determine the most fruitful direction to move in, while being an efficient communicator, avid documenter, and integrated team member. You should be able to describe your contributions to previous personal, academic, open source and/or professional projects that you are most proud of.
We welcome you to apply even if you don’t match every requirement posted for this role.  No one candidate will be a 100% perfect match to our description, so if you are passionate about working on the next evolution in aviation and have similar experience to what we are looking for, we encourage you to apply.  Diverse backgrounds and experiences promote innovation and our goal is to build a team that encompasses a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and skills.

All of our team whose roles allow them to work remotely are doing so, and will continue to do so until we’re able to be back in the office. For teams that are not able to work remotely we’re making every accommodation possible to provide a safe working environment, and ensuring we meet all state and county guidelines. 

Our headquarters is in Palo Alto and we offer a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, unlimited PTO days, 10 company holidays, a 401(k) plan with 40% company matching (no vesting period), flight lesson subsidy, education assistance, and company-sponsored social events. For those working onsite, Kitty Hawk also offers commuter assistance, and free drinks and snacks.

Kitty Hawk provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Kitty Hawk abides by applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

Kitty Hawk is an E-Verify employer.