Meet Henry Partida, our STEM enthusiast and Army veteran from our Hardware Engineering team.
At the heart of Aurora’s technology and mission are the individuals behind it. In our series, Aurora Voices, we share the unique voices and stories of the people of Aurora, celebrating our backgrounds as well as personal and professional experiences.
In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, we are thrilled to introduce Henry Partida, a Hardware Integration Engineer. Henry works closely with a multidisciplinary team to define, design, and integrate self-driving hardware into Aurora’s vehicle platforms. When he’s not helping build the hardware systems that power the Aurora Driver, Henry is engaging with students from underserved communities, empowering them to pursue a career in STEM. It’s a cause that’s deeply personal because of his own upbringing.
Read on to learn about Henry’s experience serving in the US Army, and his passions for hands-on technical work as well as inspiring the next generation of STEM Latinx learners.
What did you do before you joined Aurora?
Henry: I would describe my professional journey in three phases:
- The first phase is defined by my time serving in the US Army, working as a technician where I specialized in helicopter avionics systems. This work gave me a strong understanding of how to fix electronics and helped me build a solid technical foundation. After leaving the military, I returned to school and worked part-time as a technician at an avionics maintenance facility where I repaired flight control computers for F-16s.
- After earning my Electrical Engineering degree, I worked as an Integration Engineer at a large aerospace and defense company. This second phase is what I characterize as the beginning of my professional engineering career. I learned the fundamentals of engineering, including how to develop sound test plans, procedures, and system requirements.
- The final phase is my current work on autonomous vehicles. I left the defense space because I wanted to work in a fast-paced environment. I joined a self-driving car startup where I worked on integrating platforms, and then I made the jump to Aurora.
Describe your role as a Hardware Integration Engineer at Aurora.
Henry: As an Integrator, I’m responsible for connecting together all the various hardware and software components, like circuit boards, sensors, harnesses, CAN networks, that make up the Aurora Driver, and ensuring that these components operate reliably.
I partner with the Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering teams to stay on top of new and upcoming changes that will impact vehicle hardware integration and design implementation. And I help design custom software configurations, called Hardware-in-the-Loop, for our Software Engineering team so they can remotely develop, test, and benchmark performance before that software is integrated into our vehicles.
Even with my experience with integrations, Aurora is the first place where I’m starting to evolve into a system architect. Previously, I had integrated systems per the architecture defined by other system architects. Now, I’m growing into a system architect myself, a major milestone for integrators. When Aurora has a new vehicle platform, I’m responsible for defining the system interfaces and specifications that allow the Aurora Driver to operate on the new platform.