It Came from Outer Space


On the International Space Station, every communication is mission critical. So is the work of onboard robots that perform routine tasks to keep onboard systems – and the astronauts they sustain – in top shape. Communicating with these robots, though, is anything but routine.

“You have to make sure your satellite is in a field of view to send a signal,” says Oleg Gusikhin, a Ford technical leader in Advanced Connective Services. When it’s not, the message is relayed through a series of line-of-sight satellites until the command is finally received.

For Gusikhin, this scenario has clear parallels to Ford’s earth-bound vehicles, which often operate in areas beyond traditional network coverage. Gusikhin is currently collaborating with St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University to observe orbital robot communications and explore new ways to create connections between vehicles and to roadside infrastructure, such as traffic signals.

The impact of this enhanced connectivity could be profound. These new connections could enhance in-car capabilities, such as Internet access, and offer new opportunities for smart infrastructure to identify and respond to traffic jams and accidents as they occur. And best of all, says Gusikhin, these applications may be only a few years away.  Learn more