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Head of Safety Engineering

Zipline, Half Moon Bay, CA

Lifesaving Deliveries by Drone


About Zipline

Zipline's mission is to provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. Zipline designs and operates the world’s only autonomous drone delivery system at national scale. By delivering essential medical supplies on demand, we increase access while reducing waste and stock-outs.  We’ve completed over 12,000 commercial deliveries and 3,000 life-saving emergency deliveries. We’re expanding around the world, with a goal of serving 1% of the population of the planet in 2019

About this role
At Zipline, engineering is dynamic. In one day you will use a combination of intuition and statistics to efficiently breakdown a top level reliability requirement, identify and fix a gap in process that allowed a flight software bug to go unnoticed for weeks, and drive the conversation on a pivotal trade study with a few passionate engineers to conclusion.

As the Head of Safety Engineering at Zipline you will promote and ensure the safety of Zipline’s system. You will be responsible for not only reaching and maintaining exceptional operational safety but also defining the reliability requirements we need to achieve and the roadmap for getting there including developing the safety case that defines the aggregate system safety and reliability. You need to bring the technical leadership required to ensure our fleet of life-saving drones flies safely.

You will be responsible for producing safety reports for internal and external stakeholders including tracking and communicating the status of our safety and reliability requirements and verification.

The primary objective of tracking our specific system safety is to efficiently invest in safety improvements. The secondary objective is to have the data and documentation to show regulators our level of safety is sufficient to enable our business goals. Because of this primarily internal focus, you will need to work closely with our engineering, manufacturing and operations teams to help focus safety related efforts.

Lastly, in order to thrive as a systems engineer at Zipline you need to be autonomous with a strong ability to ruthlessly prioritize.

Example Projects and Responsibilities

  • Owning top level safety and reliability requirements and budget including distilling to lower level subsystem requirements and tracking overall system safety as a budget rolling up lower level reliability numbers other team members own
  • Develop defensible system safety case for internal and external use including submission for regulatory approval to operate in an airspace and deriving sub-system reliability requirements
  • Audit our engineering processes including release processes, design review processes, and others to improve flight safety without adding overly burdensome process
  • Work with all teams (engineering and test operations) to make sure their proactive reliability work is properly integrated into their processes and prioritization.
  • Create fault tolerance “board” identifying and communicating our vehicle's fault tolerance and develop and drive the plan to achieve fault tolerance across all necessary components
  • Identify gaps in software-in-the-loop test, hardware-in-the-loop test and flight test coverage, find efficient ways to improve coverage, and appropriately prioritize these
  • Working with stakeholders and engineers to update reliability requirements to be verifiable as well as planning and executing tests to verify these requirements

Must have Project Experience

  • Safety critical electromechanical system experience, for example in medical, aerospace, or industrial fields
  • Driving dramatic safety improvements through design, test, and process
  • Delivering hardware projects to customers
  • Being a critical part of a small, collaborative team
  • Establishing simple, well communicated, self-sustaining processes
  • Exceptional at leading tough conversations with passionate stakeholders

Must have Systems Engineering Experience

  • Vehicle design (aircraft, spacecraft, auto, etc)
  • Writing clear, verifiable requirements that do not overly constrain the solution space
  • Requirement decomposition
  • Test planning and execution for thorough requirements verification
  • Practical trade study execution
  • Fault tree development and risk analysis

Nice-to-Have Skills

  • Proficient in Python, Matlab, or Julia
  • Comfortable with descriptive statistics, Bayesian statistics, probability theory, and linear algebra
  • Experience with not only fail-safe fault tolerant modes but also fail-operative modes that enable the system to continue to operate through faults
  • Experience getting regulatory approvals in greenfield industry
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 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, favorite ice cream flavor, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws or our own sensibilities





About Zipline

More than two billion people lack adequate access to essential medical products, such as blood and vaccines, due to challenging terrain and gaps in infrastructure. Zipline improves access to these supplies by flying over impassable mountains and washed-out roads, delivering directly to remote clinics. We centralize supply and provide on-demand deliveries, completely reducing waste and stock-outs. Zipline provides a seamless delivery system at an affordable price, obsessing over every detail, so you can focus on patient health.

Want to learn more about Zipline? Visit Zipline's website.