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Friday, January 28th, 2022

Indy 500 aided DARPA threat detection effort


Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) officials said the 2019 Indianapolis 500 aided the department’s nuclear, biological and chemical threat detection process.

During the event, an advanced network of sensors kept continued vigilance, providing security real-time awareness of any potential weapon-of-mass-destruction/terror (WMD/WMT) threat. The deployment marked the first time DARPA’s SIGMA+ network integrated radiological and chemical sensors with biological threat sensors from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office.

“The Indy 500 provided an excellent venue to demonstrate our ability to provide a composite threat picture across all modalities — radiation/nuclear, chemical, and biological,” Mark Wrobel, SIGMA+ program manager in DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office, said. “The SIGMA+ network enabled real-time alerts of possible threats to be overlaid on a digital map of the raceway, so security staff could identify, with high accuracy, the type and location of a potential WMD or WMT threat.”

Wrobel said integrating fixed and handheld SIGMA radiation detectors with ChemSIGMA sensors and DHS’s biosensors on the SIGMA+ network demonstrated the networking of sensors for simultaneous, wide-area monitoring of multiple threats.

“We’d like to thank the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for their support in executing this demonstration,” he said. “We look forward to working with them and other local, state, and federal partners on future pilot activities to further refine the system with the goal of transitioning the capability to DoD and DHS users.”