Ford just embarked on a project to study the communications models of robots on the International Space Station.

This may seem like quite a random pursuit for the automaker. But Ford’s technicians are hoping that this three-year research project will yield insights to improve the reliability of connected vehicle communications.

If Ford’s vision pans out, your car will be connected to cloud-based infrastructure, like traffic lights, and to other cars on the road. Drivers will gain access to predictive insights about how to avoid traffic and collisions. For instance, if a vehicle a few miles ahead of you has been in an accident or encounters an obstacle, you’d get a warning signal to slow down.


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Of late, Ford executives have talked up plans for the “connected vehicle” and often refer to the company as a “technology maker.” In a recent interview with VentureBeat, director of technology Vijay Sankaran said Ford owners will soon be able to pre-order a coffee from Starbucks or automatically pay for gas at a gas station via their car.

More on Ford’s vision for automobiles and the “Internet of Things” here.

This particular project has been spearheaded by Ford’s technical lead Oleg Gusikhin, who partnered with St. Petersburg’s Polytechnic University in Russia.

“They have experience working with space robots [and] they were involved with the development of communications technologies for international space stations,” said Gusikhin on the reasons that Ford chose to partner with the university. “Our goal is to utilize their expertise and experience in developing advanced communications technology for the vehicle.”

As futuristic as it sounds, Gusikhin added this technology is not as “far [off] as you might think.” Check out the full video below for more information.


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