The Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications(Amrita WNA) co-hosted an Indo-US workshop with Lockheed Martin Space Systems and CANEUS International on Sensors and Small Satellite Technology for Disaster Management (SSTDM 2016) from August 17th-19th, 2016. The goal of the workshop was to discuss the needs and challenges of SSTDM technologies with a vision to create a collaborative Indo-US SSTDM Center of Excellence. The workshop was co-funded by the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and was inaugurated by Sri A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman of the Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO), on August 17th, 2016 at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s Kochi campus. During the workshop, the Amrita-Keysight Advanced Wireless Communication Lab was launched by Padma Sri M. Chandradathan, Scientific Advisor to the Chief Minister of Kerala, on August 18th, 2016 at the Amritapuri campus. The lab was established in alliance with U.S. Keysight Technologies and the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India.
More than 40 experts from the U.S., U.K. and India were present at the global workshop. Some prominent guests included, Ms. Wanda Sigur, Vice President of Lockheed Martin Space Systems; Dr. Milind Pimprikar, Chairman of CANEUS International; and Dr. Helen J. Reeves, Science Director of Engineering Geology, British Geological Survey.
Ms. Wanda Sigur, V.P., Lockheed Martin Space Systems, said, "With the ongoing revolution in electronics and materials, small satellites and miniaturized sensors have the promises of complementing the larger traditional weather satellites that we depend upon globally. This would lead to new ways to improve forecasts and predictions for weather and other natural disasters. The SSTDM 2016 Conference has played a critical role in bringing the international community together in India to review and discuss the advances in these technologies and form collaborations that benefit all nations.”
Speaking about Amrita’s role in developing technology for disaster management, Dr. P. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, said, “Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has initiated several programs under the guidance of our Chancellor, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, for disaster risk reduction. The institution has a decade of experience in the design, development, and deployment of wireless-sensor network systems for monitoring and delivering early warnings of landslides. These Amrita systems have been deployed both in the Western Ghats of Kerala and the Himalayas. We have also developed a system known as OceanNet, an affordable Internet and multilevel opportunistic Backhaul Network for fishing vessels at sea, and another system for the management of urban flooding using crowd-sourcing. This international workshop, SSTDM 2016, is another Amrita initiative to provide a forum for international and national scientists, researchers, faculty, policymakers, etc, to come up with a futuristic plan for disaster risk reduction and ultimately save lives."
The workshop’s advisory committee included Dr. P. Venkat Rangan, Mr. Rick Ambrose, President of Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sri A.S. Kiran Kumar, and Dr. M.N. Rajeevan, Secretary of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Government of India. The co-chairs of the workshop were Dr. Maneesha V. Ramesh, Director of the Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications and Dr. Suraj P. Rawal, Principal Research Scientist, Lockheed Martin Space Systems.
After the inauguration at the Kochi campus, the workshop took place at the institution’s Amritapuri campus on August 18th and 19th. The workshop included a poster presentation and a hands-on interactive session conducted by the invited guests for workshop participants.