In May 2019, Bosch North America and Astrobotic Technology Inc. established a research collaboration to launch experimental sensor technology to the International Space Station (ISS).
Bosch’s SoundSee technology is a deep audio analytics capability that analyses information contained in produced noises using a proprietary array of microphones and machine learning.
SoundSee’s analytics will look at whether audio data from equipment can be learned and comprehended using modern software and used to improve the ISS’s operations.
Dr. Samarjit Das, principal researcher and SoundSee project lead at Bosch’s Research and Technology Center in Pittsburgh, explained, “Machines, such as motors and pumps, create noise characteristics while they run.”
“Our SoundSee AI (artificial intelligence) system analyses these small acoustic indications and determines whether a machine or even a single component of a machine, requires repair or replacement using machine learning.”
NASA’s Astrobee Robot, an autonomous free-flying vehicle capable of traveling across the International Space Station, will carry the SoundSee payload. The Astrobee team at NASA’s Ames Research Center has also assisted with ground testing.
Dr. Andrew Horchler, Astrobotic research scientist and head of Future Missions and Technology, said, “NASA support has proven vital.” “They offered input and needs that assisted us in developing our operational plans and understanding the challenges of transporting a hardware payload to the International Space Station.”
Researchers will collect data on the ISS and send it down to Earth for Bosch to analyze. The team hopes to upgrade the software or modify operational routines as the research proceeds to improve data collection results.
“We should be able to obtain insights into the state of the space station with this data,” said Jon Macoskey, a Bosch research engineer intern. “Our long-term goal is to demonstrate that we can detect anomalies in the station’s operation and relay that information to the crew or ground control.”
The research has the potential to be used in a variety of terrestrial applications as well as other crewed spacecraft, such as trips to the Moon and Mars.
Dr. Joseph Szurley, a Bosch research scientist on the project, said, “Bosch has been interested in employing audio analytics to monitor essential machines and equipment, such as car engines or HVAC systems, for some time.”
“The ISS will allow us to investigate how these strategies may be used to even more difficult and unusual situations.”