Bringing self-driving car technology to space satellitesPeter Brown | July 09, 2020
AImotive is collaborating with C3S, a satellite and space technology provider, to create a prototype hardware platform for satellites using self-driving car technology and artificial intelligence (AI).
C3S will adapt AImotive’s aiWare neural network hardware acceleration technology to work with its space electronics platform to enable AI capabilities in small satellites.
The companies believe this combination of technologies could accelerate the use of satellites for mass markets such as telecommunications, Earth and space observation, autonomous satellite operation, docking support, asteroid mining and more.
Currently, many satellites are highly dependent on ground stations instead of being fully autonomous. These satellites collect business or scientific data and download it to the ground in full without pre-processing. This is an inefficient way for use cases that require immediate attention like a natural disaster or agricultural solution, remote sensing data and alerting or cargo tracking.
AI could change this, the companies said, improving perception and decision-making of satellites, similar to how autonomous vehicles are being developed to adapt rapidly to their environment to avoid other cars or pedestrians.
C3S specializes in 3-16U nanosatellite platforms supporting orbit demonstration, earth observation, space weather forecast and internet of things (IoT) missions. AImotive has been developing self-driving technology for the automotive market and is accustomed to deploying AI in highly constrained embedded environments, making it a natural fit to convert to aerospace needs that are also always in a constrained environment.
Beside large satellite solutions developments, C3S specializes in highly reliable 3-16U nanosatellite platforms supporting in orbit demonstration (IOD), Earth observation, space weather forecast and IoT missions. In addition, C3S provides a turnkey solution for nanosat missions covering the whole lifecycle from mission planning to deorbiting.
“The solution will include extensions of our low-power aiWare hardware NN acceleration architectures specifically designed to withstand the demanding habitat of space, including heat fluctuations and cosmic radiation,” said László Kishonti, founder and CEO at AImotive.