Technical Lead Manager, ML in Planning


  • Full Time

We're Cruise, a self-driving service designed for the cities we love.

We’re building the world’s most advanced, self-driving vehicles to safely connect people to the places, things, and experiences they care about. We believe self-driving vehicles will help save lives, reshape cities, give back time in transit, and restore freedom of movement for many.

Cruisers have the opportunity to grow and develop while learning from leaders at the forefront of their fields. With a culture of internal mobility, there's an opportunity to thrive in a variety of disciplines. This is a place for dreamers and doers to succeed.

If you are looking to play a part in making a positive impact in the world by advancing the revolutionary work of self-driving cars, join us.

The Planning Core team at Cruise builds the core decision making technologies that drive Cruise’s fleet of autonomous vehicles (AV). Our algorithms are responsible for making the AV drive safely and comfortably. They use a blend of ML, robotics, and physics methods to make a variety of decisions such as following and passing distances, if AV should yield for a yellow light, when and how to make a lane change, etc. Together with your team, you will develop novel solutions to the planning problem, beyond the state-of-the-art in literature. You will work closely with Perception, Prediction, and other Robotics teams to integrate your features, maximizing impact on the AV fleet.

As a Staff ML Engineer, you will develop new machine learned models that determine how the AV drives and power our maneuver planners. In this role you will create new ML-based technologies from ideation to experimentation to productionization. You will work with EM’s and Principal/Staff engineers from across Planning, Prediction, and Perception to define the technical vision and roadmap.

What you’ll be doing:

  • Collaboratively define a technical vision and roadmap for the Planning stack
  • Provide technical leadership and mentorship to the team
  • Drive highly technical ML projects across multiple teams
  • Design and deploy ML models that enable safer, faster, and more human-like decision making
  • Design costs and cost formulations using data-driven and ML techniques to deliver a better ride experience
  • Train and deploy ML models that improve AV behavior and scale to multiple fleets, vehicle platforms, and cities.
  • Use state-of-the-art RL, IRL, and imitation learning techniques in a fast-paced research to production environment

What you must have:

  • A proven record of shipping products in the real world.
  • Experience as a tech lead or technical manager, setting the technical direction for a team.
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to build consensus with a team of experts.
  • Humility to seek the best solution, even if it wasn’t your idea.
  • BS, MS, or higher degree, in CS/CE/EE/ME, or equivalent industry experience
  • 5+ years of experience working with ML in a robotics or safety critical environment or related field.
  • Strong experience with state-of-the-art Deep RL, IRL, and imitation learning
  • Expertise in C++, Python, and modern software development environments and practices (familiarity with Git, Jira, for example)
  • Experience in applying ML techniques as part of a product, using a ML-hybrid architecture
  • Experience with the ML model lifecycle management (labeling, training, deployment, and maintenance)
  • Ability to clearly define and motivate problems and solutions in technical writing.

Bonus points!

  • Experience as a software engineer using ML techniques within robotics or safety-critical projects
  • Experience developing search-based planners
  • Experience with CUDA/GPU programming
  • Experience developing custom ops for performant ML inference models.
  • Experience with ROS
  • Data science experience, including query of large databases, and data analysis

Why Cruise?

  • Our benefits are here to support the whole you:
    • Competitive salary and benefits 
    • 401(k) Cruise matching program 
    • Medical / dental / vision, AD+D and Life
    • One Medical membership
    • Subsidized mental health benefits
    • Flexible vacation and company paid holidays
    • Healthy meals and snacks provided for non-remote employees
    • Paid parental, jury duty, bereavement, family care and medical leave
    • Fertility Benefits
    • Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account, subsidized by Cruise
    • Flexible Spending Account 
    • Monthly wellness stipend
    • Pre-tax Commuter Benefit Plan for non-remote employees
    • CruiseFlex – a working policy for US-Based Cruisers that lets you and your manager find what working style is best for you, whether it’s primarily in-person, primarily at home or a combination of home and in-office time.
  • We’re Integrated
    • Through our partnerships with General Motors and Honda, we are the only self-driving company with fully integrated manufacturing at scale.
  • We’re Funded
    • GM, Honda, Microsoft, T. Rowe Price & Walmart have invested billions in Cruise. Their backing for our technology demonstrates their confidence in our progress, team, and vision and makes us one of the leading autonomous vehicle organizations in the industry. Our deep resources greatly accelerate our operating speed.
  • We’re Independent
    • We have our own governance, board of directors, equity, and investors. Our independence allows us to not just work on the edge of technology, but also define it.
  • We’re Vested
    • You won’t just own your work here, you’ll have the potential to own equity in Cruise, too. We are competing in a market that is projected to grow exponentially, which gives our company valuation room to grow.
    • Recurring Liquidity Opportunity (RLO) – a unique equity program where employees, both current and former, have the option to sell any amount of their vested equity on a recurring basis, currently quarterly.

Cruise LLC is an equal opportunity employer. We strive to create a supportive and inclusive workplace where contributions are valued and celebrated, and our employees thrive by being themselves and are inspired to do the best work of their lives. 

We seek applicants of all backgrounds and identities, across race, color, ethnicity, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy or parental status, or disability. Applicants will not be discriminated against based on these or other protected categories or social identities. Cruise will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records, in accordance with applicable laws.

Cruise is committed to the full inclusion of all applicants. If reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application or interview process please let our recruiting team know or email

We proactively work to design hiring processes that promote equity and inclusion while mitigating bias. To help us track the effectiveness and inclusivity of our recruiting efforts, please consider answering the following demographic questions. Answering these questions is entirely voluntary. Your answers to these questions will not be shared with the hiring decision makers and will not impact the hiring decision in any way. Instead, Cruise will use this information not only to comply with any government reporting obligations but also to track our progress toward meeting our diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging objectives.

Vaccine Mandate. 

At Cruise, we’re tasked with leading in the communities we serve — and doing our part to help keep our communities and our teams safe. Our #StaySafe culture transcends and informs all we do, and because of this, as of October 31, 2021 Cruise will be mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all US-based Cruisers who need or want to access any of our US Cruise facilities and engage in any business travel — including attending any in-person Company-sponsored event. 

If you are unable to get a vaccine due to a medical condition, disability, or a strongly-held religious belief, Cruise will consider requests for an accommodation.

Note to Recruitment Agencies: Cruise does not accept unsolicited agency resumes. Furthermore, Cruise does not pay placement fees for candidates submitted by any agency other than its approved partners.