Project Vahana intends to open up urban airways by developing the first certified electric, self-piloted vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) passenger aircraft. We envision Vahana being as a cost-comparable replacement for short-range urban transportation like cars or trains. A core premise of this project is that full automation and sense-and-avoid technology will allow us to achieve higher safety levels by minimizing human error while allowing more vehicles to share the sky. As a platform, Vahana can be as diverse as its wheeled grounded counterpart when being used for cargo delivery,  emergency services, search and rescue, or even as a tool to deploy modular infrastructure in disaster sites. There is no other project that we know of that incorporates this much automation in vertical flight. With Airbus’ long history in aircraft certification and safety, we are uniquely positioned to realize large-scale automated flight within urban environments.

Flight Controls Software Engineer
Santa Clara, CA

As a Flight Controls Software Engineer, your role will be to design and implement GNC, , flight management, and simulation software for an unconventional autonomous vehicle. You will be involved in all stages of development —  from architecting and implementing real-time flight software to sub-scale testing and validating software and models in simulation and on full-scale aircraft. You will grow our capabilities for analyzing data to make informed and timely decisions.

You have designed, implemented, and tested control systems, and successfully deployed them in autonomous vehicles or robotics platforms. You have an understanding of fixed-wing and rotorcraft flight dynamics, and of classical and modern control techniques. You have built high-fidelity simulations for software-in-the-loop and hardware-in-the-loop testing. You probably have a passion for airplanes, robots, or both!

You have a strong engineering and software background. You are experienced in model-based design techniques, and deploying them within the constraints of safety-critical embedded systems. You have extensive experience with development and analysis tools in MATLAB and Simulink/Stateflow. You are a competent software engineer, experienced with application level software deployment, testing, debugging. You are experienced in C and C++, with a clear understanding of what happens on a hardware level. You have composed software systems with components developed in multiple languages. You can walk anyone in your organization through your systems’ code. You squash the bugs that perplex others.

As our projects are “out-of-the-box” by design, you will be expected to seek, investigate, and implement creative solutions to challenges and impediments, and skillfully pivot when needed, with minimum loss of momentum. We expect you to do this with equal parts technical intuition and rigorous by-the-book protocol.

To get specific, your responsibilities will be to:

  • Design and implement trajectory generation, health monitoring and decision-making flight  software for an autonomous unconventional aircraft.
  • Develop the flight simulation environment used for analysis and verification, as well as rapid iteration on GNC software
  • Propose and implement necessary design, development, testing tools (e.g. autocoding, continuous build/test, data processing pipelines, hardware test benches, HILsim) that you deem necessary and socialize them across the team.
  • Effectively communicate engineering intents with the rest of the engineering team.
  • Support sub-scale and full-scale flight test operations.
  • Make a lasting contribution to the social environment at A³ by participating in social events and proposing new ones, sharing your passions and hobbies, and spreading joy wherever you go.

We expect that you will have:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a relevant technical field, such as Aeronautical, Mechanical, or Software engineering.
  • At least three years of experience with safety-critical software development, preferably on autonomous aircraft.
  • Experience in with flight control system design, flight dynamic modeling and simulation.
  • Extensive knowledge of MATLAB, Simulink, and associated workflows, including code generation
  • Experience with C/C++ and the GNU toolchain.
  • Experience with Git or another DVCS.
  • Familiarity with Agile methods, and related tools, e.g. JIRA, Bitbucket.
  • Comfort in working across major platforms.
  • Excellent communication skills

Having one or more of the following is a plus:

  • Experience developing certified software (e.g. DO-178, ARP4754)
  • Familiarity with aircraft, helicopter, or multi-rotor aerodynamics, flight dynamics and handling qualities
  • Hands on experience with UAVs
  • Experience with cloud computing / distributed systems for data analysis
  • Familiarity with motion planning and trajectory optimization algorithms
  • Real time embedded software development

A³ by Airbus is the Silicon Valley R&D outpost of Airbus. The mission of Airbus is to make things fly. Our job at A3 is very simple: we seek to disrupt Airbus (and the competition) before anyone else can. And in the process, we are setting out to build the future of flight.

At A3, we execute projects and foster partnerships. Projects are ambitious, risky and time-constrained undertakings that culminate in a demonstration at convincing scale—something that’s more than a mere prototype, but somewhat short of a product.

A3 develops technology partnerships enabling us to work within the Silicon Valley ecosystem to meet project objectives while connecting our parent company to new developments and the talent here. We also strive to partner with different elements of Airbus to serve as transition targets and sponsors of projects that emerge from A3.

By the way, you might be interested to know that we offer a killer benefits package as well as a flight training benefit, just in case you don’t already have your pilot’s license!

A3 by Airbus is an equal opportunity employer in every category. The data is incontrovertible that diversity leads to better teams, better performance, and better results. Consequently, we actively seek candidates of all genders, backgrounds, and experiences.

All job offers at A3 are contingent upon the candidate passing an export control check.