Future of Sensors Depends on Sense Priority

To deceive, to disrupt, or to defeat an adversary is the determinant in how to develop sensor technology capabilities. Speaking at AWS17 on March 3, industry experts from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman discussed the possible futures of sensor technology. Eric Reinke, Northrop’s vice president and chief tech officer, said the company is focused on four emerging trends in technological evolution: software-defined, hardware enabled capabilities, such as those integrating various feeds of intelligence and filtering them through one unit of management; cognitive systems, or networks of information capable of filtering deceptive or irrelevant data, and even unwinding threads to find where something might have gone wrong if or when it does; developing talent, which Reinke mentioned was one reason Northrop was eager and excited in its support of AFA’s CyberPatriot STEM program; and joint optimization of programs and systems. On the latter point, Reinke said technology must “focus” on interoperability, strong partnerships, and common system architectures. Lockheed Martin’s Robert Smith echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the significance of open source sensors in the future. Citing a 2014 Wired article claiming there will be between 50-100 billion connected devices by 2020, Smith, Lockheed’s vice president of C4ISR, Information Systems, and Global Solutions, said, “Sensors are going to be many multiples of that.”