The September 2 EAT launch saw the fists AI-processing satellite, PhiSat-1 take off to space. It was a success because the satellite reached the sun-synchronous orbit. So, what is this milestone all about in detail? New technology, a first and a journey is a summary.
It has a camera using both hyperspectral and thermal technologies. It is also using an already existing technology, incorporating the Movidius Myriad 2 Vision Processing Unit (VPU). It is no secret that the VDU has been used elsewhere prior to the launch. Various consumer gadgets, including smart googles and drowns, have been using it for quite a while. However, it is new to some extent since it will be processing a large amount of data. Therefore, researchers on earth will save a lot of satellite download bandwidth and time. It is also the first time that the technology is being used in space.
For example, the AI is capable of identifying cloud cover. It is smart enough to recognize cloud cover once it takes an image. As per its settings, an image that is over 70% cloudy has nothing meaningful to offer any researcher. Consequently, it deletes the data automatically, ensuring that the researchers only get useful data. Otherwise, there would be a scenario of images where the only identifiable thing is clouds, thus unnecessary. It is an ideal method of ensuring that only what’s useful leave space. The fact that it saves up to 30% bandwidth is a significant step as well.
Ubotica, together with the hyperspectral camera’s manufacturer, came up with the software operating Intel’s Myriad 2. For testing purposes, CERN gave the best environment. The test also revealed that the hardware was strong enough to handle the exposure to excess radiation. Therefore, there was no need to modify the same as it was ready for the task because it met all the particular mission’s standard requirements.
As much as computing is slowly becoming the heart of almost everything involving data processing and data analytics, this is on its level. An extension to the space territory is a whole new thing. The functionality may be the same, but the environment is different beyond any reasonable doubt. Hence, a need arises to enhance everything to be ample for the poor connections and the network inaccessibility. It includes magnifying the existing features so that they can operate accordingly under such circumstances.
Therefore, Intel will be remembered in history for its contribution towards the AI-processing CubeSat. The hardware is entirely its idea, whereas it is also partially responsible for the software. However, one must also keep in mind that Ubotica also played a significant role. AI is already a great thing, and there are high chances that its integration in space might become even a more significant thing in the future.