Next Frontier Industry Spotlight

Autonomous Systems

What are Autonomous Systems?

An autonomous system is an agent or system comprised of a machine being driven or controlled by some form of autonomy. Autonomous systems operate in complex, open-ended environments with a high level of independence and self-determination. They have the ability to perceive, learn and act with self-awareness and respond intelligently to unforeseen changes in the environment. (Source) Examples of autonomous systems include self-driving cars, drones, and even medical-assistance robotics.


AV Delivery Services Global Market Size
by 2035


VC funding into autonomous vehicle start-ups in 2021


 Year-over-year job growth in the US


Average entry-level salary for autonomous systems engineers in the US

Autonomous Systems Pathways

Everything you need to know to begin your own Autonomous Sytems career!

 Questions to Consider

  • Do you enjoy the intersection of artificial intelligence and technology?
  • Are you open to keep learning new technologies every few months and willing to keep up with the fast pace of the tech world?
  • Can you think of new and innovative ways of making everyday products/technologies more autonomous?
  • Are you comfortable with contributing to technologies that may displace certain manual-labor jobs?
  • Are you a multi-disciplinarian who can combine engineering, tech, programming, and other skills to succeed?

 Top Autonomous Systems Careers

  • Robotics and AS Engineer: Robotics engineers are professionals who work on the conception, design, testing, analysis, and maintenance of robots and their frameworks. A robotics engineer helps build systems and devices that replicate human actions. (Source)
  • Machine Learning Engineer: Machine Learning Engineers are technically proficient programmers who research, build, and design self-running software to automate predictive models. An ML Engineer builds artificial intelligence (AI) systems that leverage huge data sets to generate and develop algorithms capable of learning and eventually making predictions. that a cyber security breach can cause. (Source)
  • Data Scientist: A data scientist for autonomous systems' responsibilities typically include developing scalable data pipelines, designing and executing novel and rigorous statistical analysis to assess system performance, and creating data visualization to communicate the results.

Top Autonomous Systems Companies

  • Dassault Systèmes
  • Tesla
  • Uber
  • Aurora Innovation Inc

Related College Majors 

A Bachelor's degree is commonly require for most entry-level positions, and a Master's degree for more advanced positions in the following majors:
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • System and Industrial Engineering 
  • Robotics 

Next Frontier Industry Roadmap:
Autonomous Systems

Want to start a career in autonomous systems but don't know where to begin? Start here!

  1.  Do your research

Make sure you're well-versed in the basics. What are the most common use of autonomous systems? What's driving it? Who are the innovators? What types of autonomous systems jobs exist? What are the major autonomous systems companies? If you're interested in a specific company, be sure to learn about its culture and values. This can make a huge difference in your job search! 

2. Hone your "soft" skills

  • Critical thinking: One must be able to approach a problem from multiples angles in order to improve upon a system. 
  • Systems thinking: Systems thinking is the ability to approach projects holistically and view 'problems' as part of a wider, dynamic system. It is the process of understanding how things influence one another as part of a whole. This skill is vital in developing successful autonomous systems. (Source)
  • Collaboration: Autonomous systems require expertise from a variety of disciplines in order to materialize successfully, making the ability to collaborate extremely important. Don't be afraid to ask questions and instead focus on how you can work synergistically with other members on your team to produce the best outcomes. 

3. Learn the essentials

Autonomous systems professionals typically hold degrees in engineering and computer science. You should also be proficient in:
  • C++
  • Python
  • MATLAB/Simulink
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)/Machine learning
  • CAD (computer-aided design)
  • Image processing

4. Build your portfolio

Build your AS portfolio by participating in robotics competitions or projects that enable you to work in a team developing, building, and testing prototypes that use autonomous systems. DARPA challenges are a great way to start! 
Also make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date with your latest experiences and accomplishments and optimized using our Base 11 LinkedIn Optimization Guide.

5. Gain hands-on experience

Find out which application of autonomous systems most excites you, and go from there. After building up your portfolio and honing your technical skills, explore internships in various fields, such as transportation, medical devices, delivery mechanisms, etc. Dassault Systemes is a great example of an established global company that also serves as a pioneer in autonomous systems, and also happens to be a Base 11 Game Changer partner. Learn more about their mission and opportunities here

6. Engage your community

Cultivate your network with a Base 11 community of like-minded individuals that you can connect with today using the community feature built right into this platform! We have a thriving community of students, early-career adults, and professionals on our discussion forums who can share insights, give advice, and help you on your STEM journey.
A Day in the Life of a

Autonomous Systems Engineer

Coming Soon: experience what a day in the life of an Autonomous Systems Engineer is like!
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Featured Autonomous Systems Partner
Dassault Systemes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. They are one of our oldest Game Changer partners, having joined the mission in 2017!

Additional Resources

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Innovation Challenges

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