Meet Our Engineers: Stephen Kline
A graduate of University of Michigan, Stephen Kline has always been interested in robotics and human behavior. “When I heard about SoarTech and the strong focus the company has in both of those fields, it was right down the road from where I was going to school at the time, and I thought it would be a perfect fit,” he said.
Since joining SoarTech, Stephen, a Software Engineer II in the Ann Arbor office, has been working on SquadMATE and feels the work he’s done with that software is one of his greatest accomplishments so far. “Working on this was both challenging and fulfilling,” he said. “I was able to port the existing autonomous agent software stack from one robot to a completely different autonomous platform and integrator over the course of just a few months, and then demonstrate several behaviors including extended trials with zero human interventions.”
SquadMATE allows SoarTech to develop autonomous behaviors for ground vehicles that work directly alongside Marines. “It helps increase their effectiveness and awareness without requiring their intervention or constant commands,” Stephen explained.
Even at a young age, Stephen knew he wanted to be an engineer. “I have always wanted to be an engineer, but up until my freshman year of college I believed that I wanted to be a mechanical engineer,” he said. “But when I took my first programming class I was hooked and I never turned back.”
It’s that passion and knowledge that drive Stephen’s belief that a human-centered artificial intelligence solution is key to addressing tough military problems. “I believe that humans can be good at making decisions, but would often benefit from better situational awareness, which is where I think AI solutions can be extremely effective,” he said. “For people, having too much information available can often be just as difficult to work with as having too little. I think using AI to triage and organize information is especially helpful for decision-making.”
Stephen’s favorite thing about working at SoarTech is the interesting projects and the many “incredibly intelligent people” he has the opportunity to work and learn alongside. When he’s not working, he keeps busy with other interests.
“Recently I have started woodworking and building cabinetry in my free time,” he said. “My fiancé and I built a kitchen island in our house, and I have a few other projects including a window box planter and a set of cornhole boards.” When Stephen isn’t busy building – whether engineering software programs or custom wood projects – he also enjoys golfing and volleyball and hopes to join a league once they start back again.