Robotics Prototype Engineer (Electrical)

Palo Alto, CA /
Special Projects – Special Projects /
Here at Kittyhawk in Palo Alto, we are developing ground breaking all-electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft.  Our Special Projects group is working on the future of electric flight and you will be part of a small team that is focused on iterating quickly.  

You will be integral to the development of novel aircraft configurations, assessing the feasibility of potentially revolutionary and ultra-efficient concepts. The position is best suited for a fast learner who is enthusiastic about a broad range of disciplines and skill sets . This is not a traditional aerospace position and because of the unique nature of our prototypes, we need candidates who are willing to work outside of their comfort zone and challenge conventional thinking.

Core Responsibilities:

    • Integrate sensors, motors, actuators, and communication systems with flight computers/microcontrollers (physical integration as well as embedded software)
    • Conduct trade studies and make recommendations for the appropriate choice of hardware to support the prototyping goals
    • Plan and execute lab testing to evaluate sub-components (e.g. motors/propellers, servos, batteries, sensors)
    • Flight test the concepts you build!

Required Qualifications:

    • BS in a relevant field (Electrical, Computer, Mechatronics, etc)
    • Project experience with robotics or drones, where you were a significant contributor to system or subsystem design and implementation
    • General electronics skills (benchtop testing/debugging with oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, and other test equipment, soldering, PCB design)
    • Familiarity with sensor selection, integration, and logging: IMUs, pressure sensors, load cells, thermocouples
    • Experience in usage of microcontrollers and related development environments (Ex: Arduino, PJRC Teensy, Adafruit Feather, SDCC)
    • Skill in C/C++ embedded software development
    • Experience with common serial/bus communication protocols (Ex: I2C, SPI, UARTs, CAN)
    • Interest in prototyping a wide variety of aircraft concepts

Desired (Optional) Qualifications:

    • Experience with open-source flight computers/autopilots: PX4/Pixhawk, Ardupilot/APM
    • Familiarity with Real Time Operating Systems (RTOSs). NuttX experience is a plus.
    • Familiarity with electric powertrains and battery technology
    • Experience with Linux in embedded applications (Ex: TI Beagle series, Raspberry Pi)
    • Basic fabrication experience using common machine shop tools
    • RC aircraft piloting / hobby experience
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.

Please note that as of August 15, 2021, all persons working on Kittyhawk company premises must provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination. Applicants may seek an exception through the reasonable accommodation process.

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, Kittyhawk also offers commuter assistance, and free drinks and snacks.

Kittyhawk 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, Kittyhawk 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.

Kittyhawk is an E-Verify employer.