Ford Studies Space Robots to Improve Connected-Car Technology
What we say next sounds like something out of a science fiction book or James Bond film. After teaming up with Russian scientists, Ford Motor Company has reached the final stage of its large-scale project to use space-robot telematics to create the ultimate in connective technology. The plan is to use this newfound data to improve vehicle communication features in a major way.
Image credit: Ford
Ford was having trouble keeping up a stable connection between their vehicles and cloud-based technologies, mainly when there was wireless network overload or poor signal strength. To solve the problem, the automaker teamed with the telematics department of St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University. For the past three years, the telematics department has been part of the Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, taking part in major European initiatives to spread telecommunications advancements throughout the continent.
As a result of this three-year partnership with the university, a highly reliable prototypal data communications system was developed. The project makes use of university telematics insights in interacting with robots positioned out in space. It seems fitting — we’d say Russia knows a thing or two about outer-space technology! The prototype works like this: Ford gathers data from moving cars that are connecting to the cloud through cellular, Wi-Fi and car-to-car communications. Advanced software then figures out which of those connections would best transmit data to the cloud.
For an example of this technology in action, imagine that a car in a remote location enters a tunnel full of dangerous black ice. The car can’t use Wi-Fi without a nearby hotspot, and there’s no cell reception in the area. However, an SUV that happens to be exiting the tunnel in the other lane has vehicle-to-vehicle tech installed and a cell connection. The car can bounce a signal off the SUV’s communications systems and send it up to the cloud, warning other vehicles about the ice inside the tunnel.
We’re excited to try out this technology once it’s been installed into vehicles we sell at our Ford dealership near Anderson, SC. It’s always fun to get a taste of the future!
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