FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Microsoft partnership to explore how cloud, AI and machine learning can be used in space

By Shannon Williams
Fri 10 Sep 2021

Microsoft has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Adelaide's Australian Institute for Machine learning, to jointly explore how advanced cloud computing, AI, computer vision and machine learning can be applied in space, beyond Earth's surface. 

Project AI Off Earth will focus on the cutting edge of innovation in space. It will conduct modelling, emulation and simulation of complex space operations and systems; build algorithms for on-board satellite data processing; develop solutions for the remote operation and optimisation of satellites, constellations and swarms; and address space domain awareness and debris monitoring.  

The University of Adelaide's Australian Institute for Machine learning is ranked among world leaders in the application of AI, computer vision and machine learning to real world problems. Microsoft has deep experience in advanced cloud computing and cognitive systems and is building Azure Space, a set of cloud offerings which allow organisations to leverage geospatial data, access anywhere bandwidth, digitally engineer space systems, and engage in remote edge computing  including in space.  

The University of Adelaide's Professor Tat-Jun Chin is the SmartSat CRC Professorial Chair of Sentient Satellites at the Australian Institute for Machine learning. 

"The relationship with Microsoft will give us access to cloud-based platforms that will allow us to focus on the investigation on the performance of algorithms used to analyse large amounts of earth-observation data from satellites, without needing to be concerned about gaining access to space at the onset," he says. 

"Our work on these algorithms has the potential to contribute to many applications, including agricultural land management, water management, mining practices and understanding of economic activity among many other applications."

Chin says AIMLs vision is to be global leaders in machine learning research, and high impact research translation. 

"To penetrate the global market we need to collaborate with international partners and this relationship with Microsoft presents the opportunity to do that," he says.

Nicholas Moretti, Azure Space Engineer, Microsoft Australia adds, "I first got exposed to the space industry while I was studying for my undergraduate degree at the University of Adelaide and crossed paths with Professor Chin.

"We are delighted to be working with AIML and believe this will help identify important opportunities to use these technologies and capabilities to support agriculture and ecology, economics and financial systems as well as the burgeoning space sector itself," he says.

Although focused on in-space technologies, Project AI Off Earth will explore how space related technologies and data, and cognitive systems can be used to support automation of multiple different industries, help establish smart cities, as well as address sustainability and important environment challenges.  

AIML and Microsoft are already collaborating using Microsoft Azure Orbital Emulator a cloud-based native space emulation environment that enables massive satellite constellation simulations. Using Azure Orbital Emulator, AIML and Project AI Off Earth can quickly develop, evaluate, and train algorithms, machine learning models and AI intended for space without need to launch a single satellite. 

"The University of Adelaide undertakes world-leading research in the space sector, as well as many other fields, which aims to find solutions to the challenges facing society," says the University of Adelaide's Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Anton Middelberg. 

"This exciting new relationship between the Australian Institute for Machine learning and Microsoft will help AIMLs expertise to have an impact on a truly global scale."

The collaboration comes at a time of soaring interest in the space-related economy; the Australian Space Agency's goal is to triple the space sectors contribution to GDP to $12 billion and create an additional 20,000 jobs by 2030. 

South Australian Minister for Trade and Investment, Stephen Patterson adds, "Adelaide has established itself as the very heart of Australias space industry. 

"This agreement between AIML and Microsoft, which is building a space team, is a signal of whats to come. Australia has the opportunity to be a leading player in the global space industry and this sort of international collaboration centred on Adelaide but with a truly global focus will strengthen the local industry, help build skills in this important area and reinforce Adelaides reputation as the epicentre of space activity in this part of the world," he says.

AIML and Microsoft Azure Space also intend to use Project AI Off Earth to advocate for STEM careers, to advise on structuring of STEM traineeships and scholarships, and to encourage greater participation by women, underprivileged groups, and underrepresented groups.   

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom puts electronics sector on notice over resale price maintenance
The Commerce Commission has concluded an investigation into allegations that television manufacturers were engaging in illegal resale price maintenance.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60
Philips’ range of Hue smart lighting promises to make any home a smart home. Techday’s Darren Price checks out the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60.
Story image
N4L
N4L, Spark, Chorus partner for Hyperfibre school upgrade
Networks for Learning (N4L) has partnered with Spark and Chorus to upgrade Wellington College to Hyperfibre, fostering stronger outcomes for students and teachers.
Story image
Electricity
Canstar finds Flick Electric NZ’s favourite provider
Canstar’s annual research to find New Zealand’s favourite electricity provider reveals Flick Electric has come out on top.
Story image
Digital Transformation
SAP partners with New Zealand Rugby for digital transformation
The multi-year partnership will see SAP advance NZR with its organisational operations, team performance, fan experience and sustainability goals.
Story image
Cloud
Apple reveals new iOS 16 features set to enhance sharing and communication
Apple has unveiled an all-new Lock Screen experience and new ways to share and communicate in iOS 16.
Story image
Cloud
Sony expands X-Series portable speaker range with three new models
The company says the SRS-XG300, SRS-XE300 and SRS-XE200 all contain high-quality and powerful sound pressure due to X-Balanced Speaker Units.
Story image
Gaming
Intel Arc A380 graphics units launched in China, global release imminent
New Intel Arc A380 graphics units are set to bring next-generation technologies to gamers and content creators in the coming months. 
Story image
Cloud
Google announces new version of Chromecast with remote features
Google has announced its newest version of Chromecast, featuring a variety of new features and a new look.
Story image
Gaming
Game preview: The Quarry (PC)
On playing a bit of The Quarry, I began to understand why the game has got its own release rather than just being part of The Dark Pictures Anthology.
Story image
Cloud
Dynabook refreshes Portégé X30L series with the Portégé X30L-K
The new model contains hybrid-architecture Intel 12th Gen Core P-Series 28W processor options, Wi-Fi 6E, along with Intel Iris Xe graphics.
Story image
Cloud
Apple brings redesigned MacBook Air and updated MacBook Pro to market
Apple has introduced a redesigned MacBook Air and an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro, both powered by the new M2 chip.
Story image
Remote Working
Hands-on review: EcoFlow River Pro Portable Power station
We get hands-on with an extremely versatile device that every remote worker or outdoor enthusiast should consider.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Publicis Sapient and The Man Cave drive digital transformation for mental health
Publicis Sapient and The Man Cave are joining forces to help support the mental health and wellbeing of young men around the world.
Story image
Gaming
AMD introduces FSR 2.0 giving gaming GPUs a boost
Not only have AMD proudly announced their new line-up of Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards, but the company has also unveiled the first games to support its FSR 2.0 technology.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Adobe launches AI-powered updates to Photoshop and Lightroom
Adobe says the updates use Adobe Sensei AI and machine learning to simplify complex workflows and streamline cross-device collaboration.
Story image
Privacy Commissioner
Aotearoa gets a new Privacy Commissioner: Michael Webster replaces John Edwards
Michael Webster, who is currently the Secretary of the Cabinet, will step into the Privacy Commissioner role on 5 July 2022.
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft launches the Surface Laptop Go 2 with new features
Microsoft has introduced the new Surface Laptop Go 2, adding to the company’s growing portfolio of Surface Laptop devices.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Morphée
Life in the twenty-first century has become a 24-hour affair. Morphée promises to help restore some balance to your life.
Story image
Cloud
Chorus and Nokia launches first trial of 25G PON broadband
Chorus and Nokia have announced the successful demonstration of 25 gigabit per second fibre (Gbps) broadband technology at the Chorus Fibre Lab in Auckland. 
Story image
Apple
Apple’s watchOS 9 and its new features, including a medications app
The new watch0S 9 gives users more watch faces, an updated workout and sleep app and a brand new medications app.
Story image
Design
Hands-on review: Samsung S22 Ultra
I have been impressed by the functions Samsung packed into this phone. I did actually make one phone call on this phone, in between trying out as many of its other uses that I could pack in.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: HyperX Pulsefire Haste wireless mouse and HyperX Pulsefire XL Mat
With its lightweight Pulsefire Haste wireless mouse and RGB lit Pulsefire XL Mat, HyperX sets out to up your game and add a little colour to your desktop.
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft and Manaaki Whenua to map NZ's forest cover change
Microsoft and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, are teaming up to develop improved detection of land use and forest cover change in New Zealand.
Story image
Cloud
Apple improves Mac operating system with latest offering
Apple has unveiled the latest version of its desktop operating system, macOS Ventura, providing users with tools for greater productivity.
Story image
Wireless
WolfVision releases new Cynap Pure Mini screen sharing solution
WolfVision has launched the WolfVision Cynap Pure Mini, a new wireless screen sharing solution that looks to enable easier and more effective presentations.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: JBL Quantum 610 Wireless
The new Quantum 610 gaming headset is the latest addition to JBL’s Quantum range and the successor to its popular Quantum 600 model.
Story image
Terramaster
TerraMaster launches its T6-423 Professional NAS with TOS 5 OS
Shenzhen-based data storage manufacturer, TerraMaster, has launched the T6-423 6-bay tower NAS.
Story image
Cloud
TUANZ to address rural connectivity at 2022 symposium
TUANZ is hosting the Rural Connectivity Symposium for the first time in person since 2019, providing a forum to discuss the state of rural connectivity.
Story image
Skills shortage
Tech salaries increase as skills shortage inflates expectations
More technology professionals will receive a pay rise this coming financial year than last, with skills shortages creating a once-in-a-career market.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: The Quarry (PC)
Supermassive Games channel 1980s teen horror movies with their latest suspense-filled cinematic adventure, The Quarry.
Story image
InternetNZ
Govt must step up to police social media - InternetNZ boss
A technology industry leader is urging the government not to shy away from policing social media platforms in New Zealand.
Story image
Cloud
Linktree Marketplace creates new commerce options for creators
Linktree has launched Linktree Marketplace, a new forum for users to discover all of Linktree's partners, Link Apps, and integrations in one place.
Story image
Wireless
ComCom finds NZ broadband compares well with Australia
A new report published by the Commerce Commission has found New Zealand's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) compares well to Australia's National Broadband Network.
Story image
Film review
Film review: Jurassic World Dominion
This movie is what happens when you cross a lot of hungry dinos with humanity trying desperately to redeem itself for a mistake, and boy does it try.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Cloud
Apple announces new developer tools and APIs for better app experiences
The new announcement encompasses new tools, technologies and APIs that the company says are designed to help developers create better and more involved experiences for their users.
Story image
Broadband
Mercury launches broadband and fibre packages for NZ customers
Mercury has officially launched Mercury Broadband, giving its electricity and gas customers the ability to add fibre to their existing Mercury account.
Story image
Cloud
Adobe Substance 3D updates, looks to the metaverse
A look at all of Adobe's major updates for Substance 3D and how its services are enabling businesses to get metaverse ready.
Story image
Cloud
Hisense launches in New Zealand with new product range
Consumer electronics and home entertainment brand Hisense has launched in New Zealand, bringing its range of TVs, refrigeration, and laundry products to Kiwi customers.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft NZ and TupuToa to boost diversity in cybersecurity sector
Microsoft NZ has teamed up with TupuToa to co-develop a cyber security employment programme specifically aimed at creating more diversity in Aotearoa's cybersecurity sector.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Automated Guided Vehicles at seaports to grow 26% by 2027
ABI Research says the global use of Automated Guided Vehicles in seaports will exceed 150,000 deployments by 2027. Port authorities are also looking into 5G private networks.
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.