Making the World Easier to Navigate

Chloé Benz works as a software engineer for Qualcomm, conducting research and development on behavior prediction for autonomous driving. She works on software design, integration, and testing tasks on internal tooling for data labeling, data set generation, and performance assessment of Qualcomm’s prediction models.

“To me, autonomous driving is scratching the surface of artificial general intelligence, which is very exciting,” she says.

In research and development, Benz says she finds herself learning new skills and advancing her knowledge every day.

“I also like the freedom to experiment with diverse approaches that R&D allows for. The tasks I’m involved with require me to know about the state of the project as a whole and how everything interacts together, which I find extremely interesting,” she says.

Benz attended the École Nationale Supérieure de Mécanique et d'Aérotechnique, a French aerospace engineering school, and joined Illinois Institute of Technology as an exchange student through a dual-degree program.

She says that at Illinois Tech, she appreciated the ability to select the courses that she was most interested in, allowing her to shape her degree to best align with her professional goals.

“I feel like the autonomous systems and robotics program is well designed and has topics very relevant to the industry, from dynamics/mechanics to software engineering/machine learning,” says Benz. “[There is an] emphasis on soft skills as well, with group projects and presentations that are a big part of any engineering job.”

Now that she works in research and development, she says the skills that she developed while working on her master’s thesis with adviser Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Boris Pervan have been especially applicable. 

“I worked on the topic of GNSS multipath error modeling for aircraft navigation,” says Benz. “I reuse most of the soft and hard skills I learned during that research project in my daily life.”

Benz says what she learned at Illinois Tech went beyond the knowledge that she gained, it changed her whole mindset. 

“I feel like I’m overall more creative in my problem solving and that I’m not afraid to share my ideas anymore,” she says. “[I’m] more confident in myself, more productive, make a point to set very high standards in anything that I undertake, and strive to understand and question everything I do.”

As she approached graduation, Benz says working on research had naturally sparked conversations with recruiters and developed other professional connections. Immigration workshops conducted by Illinois Tech’s Office of Global Services also helped her understand the possibilities for finding a job in the United States.

“I ended up landing a lot of interviews, especially in autonomous driving, and received multiple offers,” she says.

Benz says her main guideline as she moves forward in her career is that she wants to work on topics that help the world become a better and easier to navigate place for everyone.

“I want to channel all my knowledge and creativity into creating and maintaining sustainable, durable, and inclusive products and services,” she says. 

Image: Chloé Benz (credit: Arthur Findelair)

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