DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual

Active
Yes
Status
Open
Release Date
October 3rd, 2023
Open Date
October 3rd, 2023
Due Date(s)
March 31st, 2025
Close Date
March 31st, 2025
Topic No.
A244-P026

Topic

Autonomous Bridging Kit Open Topic

Agency

Department of DefenseN/A

Program

Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024

Summary

The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for an Autonomous Bridging Kit as part of its SBIR program. The objective of this project is to develop a solution that allows the Army to autonomously maneuver and connect temporary, mobile bridging platforms for wet gap (water) crossing operations. The desired solution should enable autonomous movement and navigation of fully loaded wet gap bridging platforms and their bays from origin to destination while detecting and avoiding obstacles in the water. The goal is to reduce the assembly time of the bridging platforms and the number of Soldiers required to perform wet gap crossing operations. The project will be conducted in two phases. In Phase I, a preliminary autonomous kit design will be developed. In Phase II, the design will be refined and a prototype of the autonomous kit will be created. The total funding for Phase II awards is $1,900,000 for a 12-month period of performance. The ultimate goal of Phase III is to transition the technology to a US Army lab or a Program Executive Office for further development or potential acquisition pathways. The solicitation is open until March 31, 2025. For more information, visit the DOD SBIR website.

Description

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements (GWR)

 

The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 – 130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730 – 774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the announcement. Offerors are advised that foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.

 

OBJECTIVE:

Develop a solution that allows the Army to autonomously maneuver and connect temporary, mobile bridging platforms for wet gap (water) crossing operations. Current wet gap crossing bridges are composed of individual floating sections (or bays) that are connected via hinges and pins to establish the improved ribbon bridge (IRB) floating bridge system. The bridging platform consists of several connected bays. The desired solution should enable autonomous movement and navigation of fully loaded wet gap bridging platforms and their bays from origin to destination while detecting and avoiding obstacles in the water. The objective of this project is to reduce the assembly time of the bridging platforms and the number of Soldiers required to perform wet gap crossing operations.

 

DESCRIPTION:

Currently, wet gap crossing operations are incredibly resource and labor intensive, requiring numerous Soldiers and crewed boats to successfully deploy, connect, and maneuver bridging platforms. Also, as Soldiers and equipment remain in fixed locations to conduct these time-consuming operations, they are increasingly vulnerable to enemy detection and attack. The desired solution is a kit/system that autonomously maneuvers individual bays into position and connects them by interlocking the lower lock drive (see References for more information) once in the water. After the bridging platform is fully assembled and loaded, the kit should autonomously navigate and maneuver the platform a minimum distance of 600 meters, avoiding obstacles along the way.

 

Solutions to be considered will include, but may not be limited to, a combination of the following capabilities:

Be interoperable with the current IRB system bay connection as outlined in the Operator’s Manual for Improved Ribbon Bridge (Reference 3).
Not interfere with delivery of IRB into the water nor increase time to emplace and attach the IRB bays.
Provide a propulsion system that operates in water depths of 27 inches or fewer and maintains or exceeds a speed of 11 feet per second (fps), when loaded with 120/150 Military Load Classification (MLC).
Enable bridging platforms to conduct fully automated waterway navigation across a minimum distance of 600 meters.
Have a minimum continuous operating time of nine hours.
Autonomously connect and disconnect bays while maintaining remote, human-in-the-loop capability.
Autonomously navigate and maneuver bridging platforms on waterways while maintaining remote, human-in-the-loop capability.
Detect and avoid obstacles in the water and transmit obstacle recognition and location data to external platforms.
Enable full assembly of bridging solutions in under 20 minutes.

 

PHASE I:

Design a preliminary autonomous kit that integrates into current Army wet gap bridging platforms. Preliminary design should describe the hardware, software, and a concept of autonomous assembly of wet gap bridging platforms and include autonomous waterway navigation.

 

Only Direct to Phase II (DP2) proposals will be accepted for this topic. DP2 proposals must provide documentation to substantiate that the scientific and technical merit and feasibility (listed in the previous paragraph) are met, and the proposals must describe potential commercial applications of the solution. The provided documentation should contain all relevant information including, but not limited to, technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results.

 

PHASE II:

Refine the preliminary design selected in Phase I and create a prototype of an autonomous kit. System refinement should include integration of the kit into current Army wet gap bridging platforms. Required Phase II deliverables include 1 prototype inclusive of the components (hardware and software) necessary to integrate the kit into the bridging components. The prototype will be demonstrated at a government-approved location to evaluate performance. The government will assist in gaining access to necessary Army bridging assets to conduct the demonstration. Additionally, the performer will deliver monthly progress reports describing technical challenges, risk, and progress against the schedule. At the end of the period of performance, the performer will submit a final technical report.

 

The Direct to Phase II total funding for awards is $1,900,000 for a 12-month period of performance (PoP).

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS:

The objective of Phase III, where appropriate, is to transition the technology to a US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) lab for further development, or to a Program Executive Office (PEO) for potential acquisition pathways. Phase III goals may include multiple live demonstrations of the technology at an appropriate, Government-approved location.

 

REFERENCES:

Building Improved Ribbon Bridge

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/817903/652nd-engineer-company-builds-improved-ribbon-bridge-fort-mccoy-wi

Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Ground (RAS-G), https://aal.army/assets/files/pdf/solicitation-ras-g-payloads.pdf
Operator’s Manual for Improved Ribbon Bridge, 

https://aal.army/assets/files/pdf/solicitation-ribbon-bridge-operators-manual.pdf

 

KEYWORDS:

Bridging, IRB, Improved Ribbon Bridge, Wet Gap Crossing, Autonomous

Similar Opportunities

DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - NAVAIR Open Topic for Advanced Robotic Automation for Fleet Readiness Center Industrial Processes
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the NAVAIR Open Topic for Advanced Robotic Automation for Fleet Readiness Center Industrial Processes. The objective of this solicitation is to advance the automation of industrial processes within Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs) to enhance efficiency, quality, safety, pollution prevention, and productivity through the integration of advanced robotic technologies. The technology areas of interest include advanced robotic systems integration for aircraft maintenance and repair, human-robot collaboration and safety in aviation MRO, and emerging technologies for autonomous aviation maintenance. Phase I proposals must include a base and option period of performance, with a total cost not to exceed $75,000 for the base and $100,000 for the option. Phase II will focus on hardening, ruggedizing, and/or marinizing the technology for integration into an operational environment, with the outcome being a working prototype. Phase III will involve deploying advanced robotic automation solutions tailored to FRC industrial processes and providing logistics support. The solicitation is open until March 31, 2025. For more information, visit the [solicitation link](https://www.sbir.gov/node/2652281).
DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - Direct to Phase II: Next-generation Autonomy for Unmanned Maritime Vehicles (UMVs)
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the topic of "Direct to Phase II: Next-generation Autonomy for Unmanned Maritime Vehicles (UMVs)" as part of the SBIR program. The Navy is specifically interested in developing next-generation autonomy that will increase the capability and scope of utility of UMVs while decreasing the level of remote human operator involvement. The goal is to enable UMVs to perform complex tasks with little to no human intervention, handle dynamic and harsh maritime environments, support diverse missions and tasks, and cooperate autonomously with other UMVs. The technology should operate with low-bandwidth and intermittent communication and be robust to uncertain and inaccurate perception information. The project will involve the development of algorithms and software, simulation-based testing, and in-water testing with physical-small scale models. The Phase II period of performance is anticipated to be four years. Successful completion of the project could lead to the transition of the Next-generation Autonomy software to the acquisition program for use within its architecture.
DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - xTech Search 8 SBIR Finalist Open Topic Competition
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the xTech Search 8 SBIR Finalist Open Topic Competition. The objective of this solicitation is to find novel and disruptive concepts and technology solutions with dual-use capabilities that can address the Army's current needs and apply to current Army concepts. The technology areas of interest include Electronics, Human Systems, and Sensors. The Army is particularly interested in technologies related to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing, Autonomy, Cyber, Human Performance, Immersive, Network Technologies, Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT), Power, Software Modernization, and Sensors. The Phase I of the project requires a feasibility study and concept plans, while Phase II involves producing prototype solutions for evaluation by soldiers. Phase III focuses on the maturation of the technology and commercialization. The solicitation is open until March 31, 2025. For more information, visit the [solicitation agency website](https://www.defensesbirsttr.mil/SBIR-STTR/Opportunities/).
DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual - Open Topic for Persistent Experimentation
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for an open topic on persistent experimentation. The U.S. Army, under the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD (R&E)), is specifically interested in novel, disruptive concepts and technology solutions with dual-use capabilities. The goal is to address the Army's current needs and future concepts by experimenting, refining, and advancing technology solutions in operationally relevant environments. The Army encourages participation in its persistent experimentation events to mature and test the technology. Proposals should align with specific experimentation events and demonstrate potential for commercial applications. The phase I of the project will only accept Direct to Phase II (DP2) proposals, which should provide documentation of scientific and technical merit, feasibility, and potential commercial applications. DP2 awardees are expected to produce a prototype solution ready for field demonstration and deliver a technology transition and commercialization plan. Phase III focuses on the maturation of the technology to TRL 6/7 and further development and commercialization. The keywords for this solicitation include Human-Machine Integration (HMI), autonomy, artificial intelligence (AI), logistics, ground systems, air systems, robotics, sensors, and electromagnetic warfare (EW). The solicitation is open until March 31, 2025. For more information, visit the [solicitation link](https://www.sbir.gov/node/2603059).