How AI and Space Technologies are Improving Daily Lives
June 14, 2019      

The use of space technologies, along with artificial intelligence, isn’t new. However, many of us are unaware of advances that are revolutionizing numerous areas on earth, from transportation to urban planning, when the technologies are combined.

Here’s a closer look at some of the ways AI and space technologies are providing us with fresh insights on Earth.

Earth observation

Satellites have been used to monitor the planet for years. They can be used in areas of particular interest, such as deforestation monitoring, or tracking conservation efforts.

However, the use of AI is helping us to utilize this technology even more.

Satellites collect high volumes of data, most of it redundant. Analyzing and making sense of this is extremely difficult for humans – taking far longer than necessary.

This is where AI comes in. Machine learning can be used to process the vast quantity of data, much more quickly and efficiently than people. After that, the useful information can be fed back and the appropriate action taken. As an example, safeguard measures could be placed in areas of migration.

This brings with it an abundance of benefits, including increased efficiency. For example, researchers can identify and observe areas of biological interest much more effectively thanks to advancements in technology.

Urban planning

Similarly, space technology can be used on Earth to help city planners design urban areas in the best way possible.

For example, satellites can be deployed to collect images of a particular city. After that, AI can be used to help map out development plans. This includes optimized routing to aid with traffic congestion.

It doesn’t stop there. Many areas are trying to generate more of their energy from renewable sources. Satellites can help decide the best places for this, such as solar power plants. We can then plan our cities accordingly, paving the way for a more sustainable future.

The result? We’ll be able to get more from our built environment, ensuring the places we live and work keep up with today’s demands.

Renewable energy prediction

Establishing weather patterns has a number of benefits in our daily lives. Artificial intelligence can help us understand these. Just as satellites have helped us forecast the weather for years, we’re now using them to predict patterns of renewable energy.

For example, we can monitor tides to ensure that we can generate the maximum power from tidal energy.

This makes a sustainable future more likely; putting it closer within our reach. If we can better understand renewable sources, the greater the chance of us making the most of them. Under the Climate Change Act, the U.K. has an obligation to cut its carbon emissions by 50% by 2050, so space technology is helping us take a huge step in the right direction!

Shipping ports, pollution monitoring

With its ability to track the location of ships and ports, satellites along with AI can do a number of things. For example, if one port begins to look overcrowded, signals can be sent to tell the ship to wait before docking. This helps not only to reduce congestion, but air pollution in the area as well.

Therefore, satellites are mitigating against any negative consequences caused by shipping.

They can simultaneously improve the efficiency of the industry as well. Images collected can help optimize routes; mapping out the safest and quickest shipping routes. This ensures ships can make the best possible times.

Transportation

Artificial intelligence and space technology are set to revolutionize the face of transportation. Soon, it will be almost unrecognizable.

Smart transportation will allow us to move around more quickly and efficiently, enabled almost entirely by space and AI. For example, GPS tracking of buses is being used that enables live notifications and timings.

However, this is set to be taken even further. Train maintenance is one area that’s going to change for the better. Signals collected by satellite technology will inform us of any carriages that need particular attention. This can then be dealt with accordingly, minimizing delays.

People will also soon be able to send signals from their phone to bus drivers in order to be picked up. The combination of space technology and AI is going to make our transport systems faster, more efficient and much easier to use. AI is helping us to unlock these opportunities.

The benefits here are endless. Primarily, we’ll be able to get around much more easily and quickly. Not only that, but the journeys we make will be better planned; with user-needs in mind.

Business opportunities

Innovators and companies can continue to take advantage of business opportunities presented by the combination of space technologies, AI and machine learning. As technologies advance, our daily lives will continue to improve thanks to these and new developments.

For example, the Artificial Intelligence Kick-Start Activity is looking for proposals from companies that address business opportunities and the technical viability of new applications that exploit one or more space assets (satellite communications, satellite navigation, Earth Observation, or Human Space Flight Technology). This particular activity is open to companies that intend to develop sustainable products and services combining AI with space technology. Proposals are sought for different macro-areas, including consumer goods (closing date June 21, 2019); social impact (closing date Aug. 30, 2019); infrastructure (closing date Oct. 11, 2019); and environment and natural resources (closing date Nov. 29, 2019).

Additional information can be found here. You can follow the European Space Agency on Twitter or LinkedIn for more updates on space technology and its uses.

Heleana NeilAbout the author: Heleana Neil is a keen science and technology blogger who is fascinated by the latest developments in U.K. innovation. When she’s not writing about AI, autonomous vehicles or future cities, she can be found offering her guidance to U.K. businesses through her work with the Enterprise Europe Network.