Working in outer space is difficult. Tight schedules, even tighter quarters and zero gravity present unique challenges to the astronauts and scientists aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Engineers at Airbus decided that the time was right to provide an AI-powered assistant to the ISS crew. They believed that technology had advanced enough that, working with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), they could create a companion to accompany the crew and help them achieve mission success.
Airbus, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and IBM teamed up to create an AI-powered interactive robot assistant for the ISS crew. CIMON, as the Crew Interactive Mobile Companion is better known, is a small, spherical robot with expressive facial features on its screen. It uses IBM Watson AI technology running on IBM Cloud to interpret questions and commands and complete tasks for the crew. CIMON is expected to improve crew-member productivity and reduce stress, both today on the ISS and on future deep space missions.