A team of engineers at TRACLabs Inc. in the United States is all set to create ‘Hal 9000-inspired’ monitoring system for planetary base station. Pete Bonasso, primary engineer working on the project, said that he had interest in creating real Hal 9000 – the notorious AI system in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey – without the human killing, of course.
The new AI System for Controlling Planetary Base Station is called ‘Cognitive Architecture for Space Agents (CASE) and detailed in a study paper, published in the journal Science Robotics. It is designed to operate a base located on another planet such as Mars.
According to the researchers, the AI System for Controlling Planetary Base Station is intended to monitor tedious but critical tasks for maintaining a tenable planetary base, such as balancing the oxygen level and dealing with waste. Such a system needs to understand what to do and how to conduct it, executing activities using such equipment as robot arms, Bonasso said.
Considering this concept, the team built CASE as a three-layered system, of which the first is in charge of monitoring hardware including life-support, power systems and others.
The second layer is more critical, it is at the wheel of running software that monitors the hardware. The third layer, on the other hand, is much smarter and targeted for delivering an effective solutions to an arising problem, for example, if a module gets damaged, it must be sealed off from other modules as fast as possible.
Additionally, Bonasso introduced another system called ‘ontological system’ – its task to be self-aware, allowing the system to make judgment calls while comparing the data from the sensors with previously stored information and insights received from human operator. In such a way, the system will be able to interact with the human occupants, corresponding the methods portrayed in the movie.
As reported in the journal, Bonasso and his team have developed a VR prototype of the planetary base, which CASE has successfully operated for about four hours. The team recognizes that there are still lots of work to be done. Thankfully, we have tons of time as plans for human habitation of Mars and other planets are still many years away, Bonasso said.