Advanced logistics management technology created by a British tech startup is helping to deliver vital supplies and resources to the International Space Station (ISS) mission.
Multi-Agent Technology (MAT), a group of advanced software technology experts and world-renowned academics, and its Russian sister company Smart Solutions has developed logistics support for the ISS as part of Russia’s contribution to the international space mission.
Russian Soyuz rockets are currently used for all manned flights to the ISS as well as for cargo deliveries and waste disposal.
A team of five schedulers works together to schedule flights, cargo flow, storage allocation, scientific experiments, and resource allocation within the International Space Station, in real-time.
This complex adaptive network of interacting real-time schedulers is believed to be the first of its kind in the world. The system is based on multi-agent technology and Emergent Intelligence (EI), an advanced kind of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
In addition to the ISS mission this same technology is being adopted across the logistics industry. Coca-Cola Germany for example achieved 7% improvement in order fulfilment within the first month of using MAT’s Smart Supply Network service.
George Rzevski, founder and executive chairman of MAT, said: “Every decision made and every action undertaken in space can have far reaching consequences.
“Our system is capable of making rapid and extremely reliable decisions when faced with unexpected disruptions, particularly in an emergency.”
Until recently, resources on the ISS were allocated manually based on thousands of calculations by a large number of scientists, engineers and managers using simple tools such as spreadsheets.
However, in 2015, when two consecutive cargo deliveries to the International Space Station were lost, MAT’s Logistics Management System rapidly re-scheduled deliveries, ensuring that the astronauts were not left short of food, water, healthcare material or laboratory equipment.
George Rzevski added: “The same technology that is used in space can help businesses and organisations navigate an increasingly complex and interactive world by becoming adaptive to changes in their environments and more resilient to competition and hazards such as cyber-fraud and electronic attacks.”