Dublin’s Ubotica teams up with Open Cosmos to launch AI satellite

9 Nov 2022

Illustration of the CogniSat-6 satellite. Image: Ubotica

Ubotica has become the first edge computing and AI partner for the OpenConstellation project, a global satellite network built and managed by Open Cosmos.

Dublin space-tech company Ubotica has partnered with Open Cosmos to help launch an AI-centric satellite into orbit.

The two companies will work together on CogniSat-6, an AI cubesat that features autonomous capabilities. This mission will carry a flight-proven CogniSat edge computing platform to low-Earth orbit.

This technology can optimise image gathering on specific areas of interest identified in orbit, without requiring intervention from ground stations.

The space-tech companies said this allows faster response times for certain satellite operations, which can lead to higher value data gathering and better investment returns.

Based in the UK, Open Cosmos specialises in satellite manufacturing, testing, launch and in-orbit exploitation. Earlier this year, it teamed up with VictoriaMetrics – a Ukrainian start-up that provides data monitoring services – to support the launch of its low-Earth orbit satellites.

The CogniSat-6 mission is part of the OpenConstellation project, which is a global satellite infrastructure built and managed by Open Cosmos.

Open Cosmos CEO Rafel Jorda Siquier said Ubotica has become “the first edge computing and AI partner” for the OpenConstellation project.

“CogniSat-6 addresses real needs we see from customers and will enable OpenConstellation users to implement comprehensive AI-enabled system developments,” he added.

Ubotica CEO Fintan Buckley said CogniSat-6 builds on the “solid foundation of flight-proven Ubotica technology”. He added that the on-board edge computing can lead to “considerable system savings”.

“For example, applications running on CogniSat-6 will increase the system value by expanding system data throughput and cutting downlink costs,” Buckley said. “Satellite system designers are already telling us that it is a compelling proposition.”

Founded in 2017 and based at Dublin City University’s research and innovation campus, DCU Alpha, Ubotica’s tagline is “smarts for smart satellites”.

It has close links with Movidius, the AI business that was acquired by Intel in 2016. Some of Ubotica’s senior team emerged from Movidius and Ubotica’s tech was built around the Intel Movidius Myriad 2 vision processing unit.

As well as its AI engineers based at DCU Alpha, the company has a team of computer vision engineers in Spain and a team of space systems experts in the Netherlands.

In May, Ubotica raised €4m in a seed funding round led by Atlantic Bridge to help develop the next generation of its tech.

The Dublin start-up has plans to expand its team, with further information on roles available on its website.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic