Inside the world’s first AI-powered satellite — and its fight against clouds


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On September 2 in French Guiana, an AI satellite was launched into the Earth’s orbit for the first time in history.

PhiSat-1 is now soaring at over 17,000 mph about 329 miles above us, monitoring polar ice and soil moisture through a hyperspectral-thermal camera, while also testing inter-satellite communication systems.

Onboard the small satellite is an AI system developed by Ubotica and powered by Intel‘s Myriad 2 VPU — the same chip inside many smart cameras, Magic Leap’s AR goggles, and a $99 selfie drone. Its first task is filtering out images of clouds that impede the analysis.

Credit: Intel