Solar System Mining Industries is obsessed with the use of small, medium and especially large vehicles operating in an autonomous mode for the pursuit of efficient and profitable mining in space. In sharp contrast to mining on earth, we will be operating in an environment that does not afford second chances. Whether landing on foreign objects, or grabbing hold of objects as they float through space or the even more complex operation of building and then operating large machinery to bore and collect valuable elements and ore – we will need to get things right, the first time every time. Space does not suffer fools and mistakes, even simple ones, will affect the commercial viability of mining missions in space. This will require mature and sophisticated intelligence at the edge driven by Artificial Intelligence.
Our expertise in the application of machine and deep learning coupled with our real-world use of computer vision will be invaluable as we begin to explore the once unimaginable activities such as mining in space. We are experimenting with the latest advances in mechanical engineering integrated with the fast paced and evolving AI techniques that seek to create robust and reliable space operations in a controlled, risk-managed environment which will be able to delivery commercially viable solutions.
This is no longer the purview of science fiction but science-fact for those at SolarSMI and others.
The offshoots of our work will also have direct applicability for more modest mining initiatives that seek to create an autonomous landscape populated with all sorts of autonomous vehicles and operating machines to make a dangerous and arduous working environment more reliable and error-free.
Our work has need for ensuring that all components and code have integrated self-learning, self-healing, self-repairing and self-replicating to accommodate the plethora of environmental conditions and factors that make it impossible to have a predefined list of situations that may be addressed. There will not be a list of ‘if else’ code statements where the mechanical machines will overcome the obstacles as they arise.
Earth-bound vehicles as reliable as they are, present space mining commercial companies with a formidable problem – how to undertake software and/or mechanical interventions when direct contact or remote login is not possible or situations have arisen that make it no longer possible.
SolarSMI, will continue its efforts to develop the advanced integration of AI and machines that address the need for mining machines to be able to operate even as parts or software ceases to work. The ideal that we are working towards is the ‘biological’ renewal processes akin to the regrowth or renewal of skin as an ‘automatic’ and natural response.
Successful commercial operations will be dependent on all operating equipment and the underpinning systems being wholly independent. This being our intent – we are also exploring maintenance-bots that could assist equipment that are operating in a ‘self-healing’ or ‘self-maintenance’ mode. This work will seek to explore the thought processes undertaken by human as they try to resolve situational problems.
This will require the very best application of AI, as we seek to mimic human behaviour and thought processes and the use of reinforcement learning.