Highlights: MTS Technology Forum & MTS/Oceaneering Symposium

The MTS/Oceaneering Symposium returned for its 30th anniversary on September 15. The symposium serves as a kickoff for the MTS Washington DC Section's year ahead and is a signature event for the entire Capital Region maritime community. 

This year’s event saw the return of The MTS Technology Forum, a high-level panel discussion on emerging topics in the maritime industry. Since its addition in 2019, the forum has featured topics including uncrewed systems, the blue economy, technology trends and challenges, and more. This year’s discussion theme, “A New Era of Marine Technology and Data Management,” tied it all together. The forum happily welcomed back Lisa Blodgett, Sector Head of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Force Projection Sector, as moderator. Blodgett has extensive experience in both advanced surveillance build programs and surveillance anti-submarine warfare systems with new technologies. She is also a member of the Defense Science Board Task Force on unmanned undersea systems.

A panel of maritime industry leaders joined her for the discussion:

  • Rear Admiral Ronald J. Piret, Commander, Naval Meteorology & Oceanography Command and Oceanographer of the Navy
  • Rear Admiral Douglas G. Perry, Director, Undersea Warfare Division, N97, Office of the Chief for Naval Operations
  • Dr. Vicki Ferrini, Senior Research Scientist, Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • Mark Stevens, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft Advanced Autonomy and Applied Robotics

The panelists touched on important topics such as the Navy’s strategy on unmanned systems and the trends and challenges related to managing increasingly large data streams and data security; uncrewed systems tactics and employment and how machine learning, AI, and digitalization are aiding the challenging issue of data collection and analysis in the maritime domain; the importance of collaboration amongst the defense, commercial, and academic maritime sectors; and how advanced autonomy and robotic systems are changing the landscape of maritime data collection.

This was the first year that both the forum and symposium were held at Oceaneering in Hanover, Maryland. The event was a great success and brought in over 300 participants including MTS members, invitees from industry, academia, and the Department of Defense, as well as commercial professionals in maritime technology fields. As always, the networking portion of the symposium featured the famous Maryland crab dinner. It was a great opportunity to be back in-person, reconnecting with old friends.

By: Jake Sobin, MTS DC Section Chair

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