My time so far at PlusAI has been amazing! Working as a software engineering intern, I’ve felt as if I’m learning so much about the intricacies behind the self-driving car industry. At the Beijing office of PlusAI, I’m currently involved in the perception team - meaning that I’m working closely with both engineers and scientists to implement software governing detection and tracking. My first impression of the company was very fast paced as I was immediately introduced to the projects that I would be working on. I was happy to learn that my role was very research heavy - I spent a lot of the first few days reading and annotating academic papers detailing complex deep learning models pertaining to computer vision. It’s been amazing getting real-world experience programming software using real data taken by sensors from the engineering team, as well as theoretical experience discussing ML models with experienced researchers.
One of the most surprising experiences that I had thus far was our first company outing. During my first week in the internship, the company bought us train tickets to visit our sister branch in Suzhou. I expected the event to be one of the stereotypical “team-building” events that you often see in Western companies. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had! After meeting the Suzhou employees and interns at the company headquarters, we embarked on a trek that included visitations to incredible parks and underground caverns as part of the outing. We had a banquet during one of the nights that was filled with different festivities like live music, dancing, and karaoke. There was a wide assortment of Chinese delicacies, like chicken feet and braised eels. I had a great time socializing with my coworkers, many of whom I had only shared a few words with previously. It was incredible how close it seemed like I was getting to the other employees and interns after only a few days of meeting!
Over the past three weeks, I think my experience here so far has been incredible. I often hear from pessimistic upperclassmen of the “bubble” environment that is inherent to Stanford - how our university shelters us from the real world. However, with the experiences I’ve had in the past 3 weeks, I can confidently say that this is not true. I’m glad that Stanford has given me the opportunity to witness what my skills as a computer scientist can bring outside the context of the tech world of Silicon Valley. Despite initial cultural differences and language boundaries, I truly feel as if I’m getting immersed into a culture that is completely different from our own. Despite having travelled a lot during my childhood, working in a different culture has been a completely unique experience that has opened my eyes as a college student. Overall, I’m extremely happy to be working here and look forward to what Beijing will show me in the next few weeks!