Unmanned vehicles, sensors, and space missions scheduled for Defense and Security event

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Displays and demonstrations of robotic and unmanned vehicle systems are among featured events planned for the SPIE Defense+Security conference in Orlando, FL, USA, next month.

The event is the largest international unclassified defence-related symposium and draws engineers and researchers from industry, academia, government, and military labs throughout the world. It will be held in the Orlando World Centre Marriott Resort and Convention Centre, with professional development courses running 16-20 March 2008, technical conferences 17-20 March 2008, and the exhibition 18-20 March 2008.


Nearly 1,700 technical papers will be presented in 45 conferences, and approximately 5,300 attendees are expected to attend. Topics range from core defence-related technologies to dual-use applications in IR sensing.


Highlights among special events are:

  • Plenary talk by The Honorable Jay Cohen, under secretary for science and technology at the US Dept of Homeland Security
  • Industry forum talk by Sir John Chisholm, executive chairman of QinetiQ and chair of the UK Medical Research Council, on ‘Innovation and the Wealth of Nations’
  • Industry expert panel discussion of future directions in the area of sensors for detecting chemical, biological, radiation, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) threats.
  • Space exploration is one focus of plenary sessions, with talks on the deep-space flight of the Hayabusa Asteroid Explorer, by Hitoshi Kuninaka and Junichiro Kawaguchi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and protecting the Moon’s environment, by Jeffrey Maclure of the International Academy of Astronautics and International Institute of Space Law. Other plenary topics are display content of night vision goggles and helmet-mounted displays, and radar sensors and imagers.


A set of Hot Topic sessions will include discussions of use of sensing technologies in food safety and of innovations in and directions for 3D imaging and display, as well as optics and imaging technologies applied in defense and security, forensic science, and communications networks.


More than 435 exhibitors will present hardware, systems, and services across a wide range of IR, imaging, optics, and sensors and sensor systems technology. Exhibiting companies include FLIR Systems, L-3 Communications, Santa Barbara Infrared, Axsys Technologies, SOFRADIR, Cedip Infrared Systems, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, DRS Sensors & Targeting Systems, and others.


The Robotics and Unmanned Systems Pavilion will feature vehicles from the DARPA Challenge autonomous vehicle competition, robotics systems used by the Army and Navy, and unmanned aerial vehicles currently used in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pavilion exhibitors will showcase the latest technology in IR imagers, sensors and optics used by military robots and unmanned systems.


An education programme will offer courses and workshops ranging from fundamental to advanced levels, in topics such as IR sensors and systems engineering, technologies for homeland security and law enforcement, tactical sensors and imagers, laser sensors and systems, battlespace technologies, displays, intelligent and unmanned systems, and communications.


Symposium chairs are Larry B Stotts, deputy director for strategic technology at DARPA, and Ray O Johnson, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Lockheed Martin and a member of the SPIE Board of Directors.