Canada’s artificial intelligence leadership extending to space
Nov. 27, 2018
Global Korean Post
Quebec-based company pushes the limits of Canadian robotics technology.
Canada is leveraging its leadership in AI and space to unleash innovation in space exploration. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is now exploring ways to equip future space robots with AI. Giving robots some autonomy will be critical for new missions into deep space. Set to be located in increasingly distant destinations, space robots of the future will have to work without human help, relying on AI to make decisions.
The CSA is collaborating with MDA, a Maxar Technologies company, and AI experts from Menya Solutions, a small company from Sherbrooke, Quebec, on the next generation of autonomous space robotics. MDA built the original Canadarm, Canadarm2 and Dextre, and are now taking steps towards the AI-based robots of the future by giving Canadarm2 and Dextre the ability to conduct certain tasks autonomously. This pioneering work will ensure Canada’s continued competitiveness in space robotics when future opportunities arise.
Countries from around the world are preparing plans to build the successor to the International Space Station (ISS): an outpost in the vicinity of the Moon called the Gateway that will serve as a stepping stone for deep-space exploration. Unlike the ISS, which has been continuously inhabited for almost 20 years, this future orbiting lunar station will rely upon AI-based autonomous robotics for its upkeep. Robots will assemble and service the Gateway, and will capture visiting spacecraft and help conduct science on behalf of researchers on Earth.
By 2020, Canadarm2 will be able to carry out certain tasks in space without human intervention, like moving around the ISS scanning it for problems.