Author: Harry Yu -
I am Harry Yu, an MSc student in the Robotics and Autonomous Systems course. My course offers a three-month placement option and I just started mine with Benedex, a start-up company based in Bristol.
Benedex are developing modular drive systems and multipurpose integrated robotic platforms. The company was founded to sell electrical scooters, but due to the pandemic, they shifted to providing autonomous platforms.
The Faculty of Engineering & Design Placements team helped me a lot to get this placement. They provided one-to-one video calls during which we worked on my CV and interview techniques and helped me get in touch with Benedex. Without their support, I would have gone for MSc Robotics and Autonomous systems course without placement, but I am so happy I didn’t.
During the Robotic Software unit in my first semester, I learned about ROS (Robot Operating System). I was able to apply my knowledge from this unit during the placement, from basic Linux commands to setting up the ROS. During my unit coursework I practiced coding and I was able to use some of it during my placement with Benedex.
I am working from home with online meetings twice a week to discuss and demonstrate my work. I have also visited Benedex offices several times for site meetings and testing. I found the hybrid approach to working very beneficial to me as I can do most of my work remotely, like programming, configuring, and tuning of the platform navigation.
During my site visits, I tuned and tested on my own one of the platform prototypes. Seeing the robot navigate autonomously around the room without collision is particularly rewarding, because I worked on setting this up.
I am getting more comfortable with Linux commands and working with multiple machines and servers, because both the onboard Raspberry pi and desktop are using Linux as their operating system.
For an international student like me, this is an invaluable chance to gain work experience in a UK company and improve my soft skills such as communication and working as part of a team.