ford-robot-space-2013-300x225.

St. Petersburg Polytechnic Associate Professor Vladimir Mulukha shakes hands with a mobile humanoid used in Ford's space research (Photo: Ford)

Ford Motor hopes to learn from space robots how it can further improve car connectivity.

The US-based automaker is embarking on a three-year research partnership with Russia's St. Petersburg Polyechnic University to study the way space robots on the International Space Station (ISS) communicate with earth. The findings will be used to develop new mobility solutions to address vehicle-related accidents and traffic congestion.

The auto industrybelieves car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication will be a catalyst in delivering more sophisticated safety and traffic management systems.

"Our participation in this research can aid in the development of next-generation Ford driver-assist technologies," said Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas. "These technologies will globally benefit Ford customers, other road users and the environment.”

One of the research areas is emergency vehicle communication. Ford is analyzing how emergency messages can be sent, even if network failures occur. Said Oleg Gusikhin, a senior Ford technician. "If one network is down, alternatives need to be identified and strengthened to reliably propagate messages between networks."

Ford said space telematics, which focuses on the long-distance transmission of digital information, provides various examples of how to provide reliable communication. "We are analyzing the data to research which networks are the most robust and reliable for certain types of messages, as well as fallback options if networks were to fail in a particular scenario," said Gusikhin.