Ford looks to space robots for connected car technology

Can space robotics pave the way for the development of connected vehicles?

Ford has begun a project in Russia to study the communication models of robots in space, with an overall aim to improve connected vehicles.

The three-year project, in conjunction with the telematics department of St. Petersburg Polytechnic University in Russia, explores the communications channels between robots on the International Space Station and with Earth. By analyzing "mesh networks" and telematics -- the long-distance transmission of digital information -- the team hopes to boost the development of vehicle-to-cloud, vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communication, collectively known as a V2X system.

Ford hopes the project will help reduce traffic accidents; ease congestion and provide faster, more accurate emergency responses through these technologies.

In particular, Ford is also looking at ways to ensure critical messages can still be sent should network failures occur; for example, if a vehicle-to-cloud network failed, then a vehicle-to-vehicle system could pick up the slack.

"The research of fallback options and robust message networks is important," said Oleg Gusikhin, technical leader in systems analytics for Ford. "If one network is down, alternatives need to be identified and strengthened to reliably propagate messages between networks."

Based on the knowledge acquired by studying the space robots, engineers could develop an algorithm to be integrated into the V2X system which would route messages through appropriate networks depending on its importance. An emergency message, for example, may be communicated through a faster mesh network, whereas an entertainment-related message would route through a vehicle-to-infrastructure application.

"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," said Gusikhin. “In a crash, for example, a vehicle could have the option to communicate an emergency though a DSRC, LTE or a mesh network based on the type of signal, speed and robustness required to reach emergency responders as quickly as possible."

Via: Ford

Image credit: Ford

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