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Intelcomm to develop new technology to support human robot interaction in space

NEWS: Intelcomm signs up to SPRINT to develop new ADSS technology for space applications

Funded by national SPRINT programme, Intelcomm will collaborate with University of Surrey

Intelcomm has signed up to the national SPRINT business support programme to collaborate with the University of Surrey on the development of new autonomous decision support system (ADSS) technology for space applications.

Intelcomm will integrate a unique fault detection algorithm from the University of Surrey to its space robotic system. This will provide safer space exploration by enabling the crew to remain fully aware of the health of an identified spacecraft system at all times, making data-enabled decisions in real-time and increasing the level of autonomy of the robotic platform.

The University of Surrey will deliver a Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV)-designed Predictive Maintenance algorithm. Intelcomm will utilise the expertise and facilities at the University of Surrey to prove the concept for an enhanced Human-Machine (Autonomous/remote Rover) interface.

Using ADSS will greatly reduce the astronaut’s dependency on Earth-based mission control and will return control to the astronaut to enable a full oversight of the robotic operating systems. This will help astronauts to manage difficult or potentially dangerous failure scenarios in a timely manner and avoid escalation, ensuring their safety and the safety of the robotic or autonomous system at the same time.

The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.

Bob Buckle, Director of Intelcomm UK said: “This new piece of Internet of Things technology will allow us to import and convey large amounts of information in an intuitive way. Although some of this technology is already in place, the integration of real-time information is relatively new. Astronauts can use the technology and although we’re using space as a primary target for this particular development, we’ve also had interest from other industries.

“Intelcomm and the University of Surrey have worked together on other programmes including autonomous vehicles and through the Surrey Space Centre, they will bring extremely useful experience in deep space communications.”

Dr Saber Fallah, Senior Lecturer in Vehicle and Mechanotronic Systems at the University of Surrey added: “We’ve worked with Intelcomm in the past on a feasibility study into a purpose built, complete, communication system for remote deployed CAV operation, and have already developed a successful working relationship.

“For the SPRINT project, we will leverage this research expertise to integrate a patent-pending algorithm for predictive maintenance. This will enable Intelcomm to develop an ADSS for space situational awareness in a human robot interaction scenario.”

The project will also be supported by the FAIR-SPACE Hub, a SPRINT partner, located at the Surrey Space Centre and a national centre of research excellence in space robotics and AI.

Ann Swift, Innovation & Partnership Manager at the Hub said: “The Hub is pleased to actively support new R&D being led by UK SMEs. Intelcomm has ambitions to prototype a new Augmented Reality enabled solution that will make operating in space safer for all, including those humans working alongside robots and we are confident that this project will stimulate significant interest from within the UK space sector as well as globally.”

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