Intern Spotlight: Clay Cho By TuSimple's editorial team

Oct 05

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Welcome to the first edition of the TuSimple Intern Spotlight series!

As the summer officially ends, many interns, including our own, have wrapped up their internships. Our new series is meant to share the stories of interns across TuSimple and learn more about their backgrounds, work, and personal reflections of their summer experience. Today’s post is all about Clay Cho, who started at TuSimple as an intern and recently returned as a full-time employee.

Meet Clay!

Clay was an intern at TuSimple during the Winter ‘20/’21 and is now a Product Operations Analyst. He is a part of the Production Operations Team which defines at the highest level both where our product should operate as well as how it should operate. Before joining TuSimple, Clay was a Master’s student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he focused on Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. In his free time, Clay enjoys spending time with family, playing soccer and making coffee!

What first sparked your interest in working at TuSimple?

I was first introduced to TuSimple through the MIT online career fair, where I met a recruiter. I discovered that the internship role was exactly aligned with my research during my graduate studies. Furthermore, I was confident that this internship with TuSimple would allow me the opportunity to apply my theoretical and academic knowledge in real-world autonomous systems with an industry-leading organization.

What did you enjoy most about your internship?

As I hoped, the role was one where I could apply my academic knowledge into real-life systems. I particularly enjoyed working with roadway data collected by our vehicles and the engineers who were actively building the algorithms for our vehicles. It was fascinating to see the result of this work; an Operational Design Domain report that provides a detailed categorization of the roadway conditions (including physical infrastructures, surrounding environment and roadway objects) in which the vehicles will or will not operate. Additionally, I really enjoyed collaborating and working with my team, despite the remote working environment due to the pandemic.

What contribution were you most proud of while interning at TuSImple?

I was able to quickly adjust to the new role and directly apply my knowledge from my graduate studies into defining the operational boundaries of our trucks. I helped the team draft the first version of the Production Operational Design Domain analysis report, which is used as a basis for defining the product requirements that determine what a vehicle has to do given certain conditions or situations. This is being updated on an ongoing basis as we expand our Autonomous Freight Network and continue to gather new data.

Which TuSimple value (Safeguard, Own, Communicate, Collaborate, Innovate) resonated most within your intern team?

I would say collaboration and communication. My graduate research was more individual work, whereas this role at TuSimple involved a large amount of communication across various functional teams. Specifically, I learned to communicate with the engineering teams to understand what their needs were and to refine them into deliverables. This was not only a new, growing experience for me, but also a pleasure, given the great team at TuSimple!

What influenced your decision to come back to TuSimple full-time?

I really enjoyed working at TuSimple and specifically within my team. During the internship, I felt that the team acknowledged and appreciated the value I added and felt that it was definitely an environment that I wanted to continue working in!

Ultimately, I felt that continuing at TuSimple would help me continue to gain great work experience and develop new skills. In addition, I was very excited to move to San Diego!

What advice would you give to aspiring interns and professionals at TuSimple?

The internship at TuSimple is not simply a short-term contract position. It is an opportunity to learn about the company and demonstrate your experience and skills so that when you transition to full-time, the learning curve is less steep. I would encourage anyone who is interested in the autonomous vehicle space to apply because this is truly an unmatched learning opportunity with an industry-leading organization!

Interested in TuSimple?

Interested in learning more about roles at TuSimple? Keep an eye out for our open roles across all of our teams by visiting our careers page. Join us in building a better path forward in trucking.

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