Ford researches in space better vehicle communications image

Ford Motor Co. is teaming up with researchers at the St. Petersburg Polytechnic University in Russia to study communication between robots on the International Space Station.

In the hope of developing better systems for connected cars, Ford has embarked in an out of the world three-year project designed to observe the communication models of robots in space to understand how vehicles can communicate better with other vehicles, the cloud and with such infrastructure elements as buildings and traffic lights. Such communication can prevent congestion, reduce accidents and deliver messages to drivers.

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

Many of the technologies being used by robots on the space station — including dedicated short-range communication, cellular LTE wireless broadband and mesh networking — are in development or already being used in cars and other applications on Earth. Ford engineers hope to develop an algorithm that could be integrated into connected-car systems that would route messages through the appropriate network based on its urgency. Emergency messages would travel through faster, reliable connections, while entertainment-related messages might use networks with a lower priority.