AI, Robot: Meet Russia’s New F-850 Android

The humanoid robot F-850 was developed and tested in Russia and recently, July 23, arrived to the Baikonur cosmodrome. Today robot is being prepared for the launch to the International Space Station (ISS)

Developed by the Android Technology Company, originally, the robot was named F.E.D.O.R. Final Experimental Demonstration Object of Research, and a common Russian male name, but it was recently renamed, allegedly because of a request from the Director General of Roscosmos, Dmitri Rogozin.

The main goal of this new development is to replace astronauts in tasks too dangerous to be performed by humans.

On the ISS, F-850 will be managed by Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, and later by operators from the ground. If the machine performs well during the first test in space, it can be used for missions to the Moon and beyond.

However, because of the delay in communication, controlling the robot from the ground won’t be possible. That’s why developers are planning to apply elements of artificial intelligence to F-850.

‘In this regard, we will need elements of artificial intelligence so that the machine can self-learn and make certain decisions on its own,’ said Rogozin.

One of the main tasks for developers was to provide robot with ‘fine motor skills’ comparable with humans’.

In one of the experiments performed, the robot had to prove his skills by drawing a picture! Well, robot didn’t draw a picture itself, but successfully copied the movements of operator very accurately and  without any delays.

‘Fine motor skills are extremely important in order to operate different tools in different conditions, including conditions of low-gravity. The operator feels when the robot touches any object, this interface is so interesting,” Director General of Roscosmos said.

F-850 is also quite socially active, and recently started its own twitter account. For now, there are only two tweets there, but it’s already gained over 1,200 followers in a matter of days.

Hello everyone! I’m Skybot F-859, but you can call me Fedor. Right now I’m getting to know the control system of the Soyuz MS-14 space craft which will deliver me to the ISS August 22, 2019.

Right now, the robot is busy with the pre-launch preparations. August 22, F-850 will be launched to the ISS aboard the Soyuz MS-14 unmanned spacecraft. However, the humanoid robot won’t be staying on board long, after a ten-day mission F-850 is set to leave the station and return to Earth.

Christina Daumann