On the last day two of SEARCC 2005 in Sydney it was time to get down to some serious IT, with a panel session on "sensor networks". We had robot submarines and swarms of robot aircraft looking and listening to us. Closer to home were sensors to help save water.
Len Sciacca from the Department of Defence Electronic Warfare and Radar Division, talked about how the Australian made aerosonde robot aircraft had been programmed to fly as a swarm. He claimed this was the first time this form of semi-autonomous operation had been permitted in the USA. He also mentioned cigarette sized radars for the UAVs and satellite commutations via the radar at the same time it scanned and jammed.
Peter Corke from CSIRO Autonomous Systems Laboratory showed off a network of underwater sensors with data harvested by a robot submarine.
Stan Skafidas from NICTA's Sensor Networks Research Program talked about how devices could be used to use irrigation water more efficiently.
Dr R. Srinivasan, Past President of the Computer Society of India reminded us there are complex problems to be solved before such networks are practical.