Space Technology

Robots Shoot for the Moon with Bosch

Overview CES® exhibitor Bosch has been working with NASA to integrate artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled robotic innovations that are out of this world, helping astronauts work and live more safely and efficiently in outer space and aboard the International Space Station.

Recent space missions and projects are spurring revitalized enthusiasm for space exploration, tourism and technology. Collaborations between NASA and American entrepreneurs have the potential to further transform space travel and lead to breakthroughs and other-worldly discoveries.

For Michael Foale, former astronaut and commander of the International Space Station (ISS), there is great potential for advancement in space with the help of one specific category of technology.

“I think that the close collaboration between humans and machines will be life-altering, and that robots will be very helpful for space exploration,” Foale said. 

Foale is part of a group of researchers working to develop robots for use in space, including SoundSee, a sensor system from CES exhibitor Bosch.

Bosch’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered robotic applications are helping astronauts and researchers live more safely, work more efficiently and analyze data more fully while in space.


Identifying Problems Through Sound

At CES 2020, Bosch unveiled SoundSee, a lunchbox-size innovation created to capture ambient noise and identify potential maintenance needs.

Machines at work emit noise signatures, and the SoundSee AI algorithm leverages machine learning to analyze and understand acoustic cues from machines to determine whether components need to be repaired or replaced. Aboard the ISS, the SoundSee rides on NASA’s Astrobee Robot, an autonomous vehicle that navigates throughout the space station.

Audio files from the SoundSee are sent back to Earth for evaluation by Bosch scientists, who can determine pending faults and communicate necessary repairs.

The system is a vital aid in everyday work for astronauts, saving crucial time and catching both ongoing and potential anomalies that are undetectable to the naked eye. In the future, Bosch hopes for the AI system to automate troubleshooting processes as well.


Bosch Goes to the Moon

In the year since SoundSee was deployed, Bosch has expanded its space technology work. As part of NASA’s Tipping Point program, Bosch is also working to develop technology to help navigate and charge robots for operation on the moon.

At the all-digital CES 2021, Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch North America, discussed the team’s efforts in contributing to CubeRovers, AI-enabled robots that will be equipped and trained to navigate the moon’s more unpredictable conditions and terrain. The robots will also be able to get themselves to a docking station in environments where GPS is not available.


Leveraging Space Tech for Those at Home

Artificial intelligence of things (AIoT) technologies have various applications closer to home as well. SoundSee developers believe that the system can be used to monitor heating, ventilation, vehicle engines and more on Earth, too.

AIoT solutions in connected and automated driving that were prepared for moon navigation can potentially help eliminate gridlock and traffic jams. Energy efficiency considerations meant to extend machine functions when away from charging stations in space can assist in maximizing lifespans of electric vehicles and other sustainable batteries.

The controlled vacuum of space on the ISS can be an ideal environment for testing sensor technologies, such as the SoundSee, before the noise of Earth, and can also prepare technologies for more challenging environments, such as new planets.


Learn more about Bosch’s sustainability campaign and how they are encouraging people to live Like a Bosch.


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