Ford Motor F +0.24% Company has announced that it is joining up with the St. Peters-burg Polytechnic University in Russia on a three year project. Their mission is to study how robots communicate in space so that one day in the future, you’ll have a smarter car. This is part of an ongoing effort by Ford, as well as other companies in the industry. To develop smart networks between cars, street lights and other parts of the road to help avoid auto accidents is required. Other goals for such networks include improving emergency response times and easing traffic congestion.
So reason to study the communications of robots in space is because they’re extremely redundant. There are multiple ways for communications to fail in space for different reasons. There are multiple ways to communicate. By studying how robots in space handle communications failures, auto engineers can apply that to the use of vehicles on Earth.
“We are analyzing the data to research which networks are the most robust and reliable for certain types of messages, as well as fallback options if networks were to fail in a particular scenario,” Ford’s Oleg Gusikhin said. The three year project will be focused on three robots, DLR’s “Justin”, which is a mobile humanoid robot; the Eurobot Ground, which is being developed by the ESA to work on the surface of other planets; and the Robonaut 2, which is currently aboard the Int’l Space Station.
This isn’t the first time that space technology has helped make driving safer. The original hand controls for automobiles which paraplegics can use to drive were spun off from technologies originally designed for the “Moon Buggy” which astronauts drove on the Apollo mission. Systems used to help the Mars Phoenix rover land on Mars are currently being employed for collision avoidance in some vehicles. Also, if you have Goodyear GT -0.05% tires, they might have been designed by the same systems used by NASA to develop composite materials for jet engines.