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Austere Environment Virtual Planning Tool


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Info Systems, Sensors, Electronics, Battlespace 

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this topic is to develop an innovative visually based planning tool for Special Operations Forces operating in austere environments that can virtualize georeferenced imagery into a 3D model that communicates with the Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) and future Augmented Reality visual augmentation systems. 

DESCRIPTION: USSOCOM is looking to explore options that provide Special Operations Force (SOF) Operators with an “in the field” operating system that can process georeferenced imagery on a laptop and create a 3D virtual rendering of a potential objective area. The virtual rendering can then be used to conduct a virtual walk through of the objective area for planning purposes. This virtual environment shall also be capable in allowing the Operator to assign and place mission critical points of interest that can be translated into the ATAK. Virtualization of the battlespace possess enhanced methods of contemplating terrain, assets, plans are critical to the compression of the planning and reducing potential failure points. Operating system key features shall include but not limited to the following: 1. Systems architecture must be able to process georeferenced imagery from both commercial Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and U.S. DoD group classified one (1) and two (2) UAS. 2. Determine an accuracy estimate of virtualized data in relation to actual position/s on the ground. 3. Assess virtualized data based on UAS camera resolution. Provide potential UAS camera recommendations for greater fidelity and resolution in the 3D virtual model. 4. Determine what is the largest area on the ground that can be virtualized on a laptop without internet connectivity and also “time to process” virtual data estimates. Example; 1 kilometer by 1 kilometer will take 5 hours to virtualize. 5. Assess feasibility of the import of both day and night (Near Infra-Red, Mid Wave Infra-Red) imagery for virtualization. Provide pros and cons of visual vs. infrared imagery virtualization. 6. Provide best solutions for virtual reality head-mounted optical device that provides acceptable resolution with minimal image lag while being worn by an Operator. 7. Depict a potential hardware layout with volumetric estimates. 8. As part of this feasibility study, the offeror shall address all viable overall system design options with respective specifications. Key Military applications: Planning/Action Mission and Command: 1. Create Common Situational Understanding, Mission Command On-The-Move, Enable Unified Action Partner Collaboration 2. Create, Communicate, and Rehearse Orders 3. Airspace Control in Unified Action Mission Command 4. Operational Adaptability and Decision-Making 

PHASE I: Conduct a feasibility study to assess what is in the art of the possible that satisfies the requirements specified in the above paragraph entitled “Description.” The objective of this USSOCOM Phase I SBIR effort is to conduct and document the results of a thorough feasibility study to investigate what is in the art of the possible within the given trade space that will satisfy a needed technology. The feasibility study should investigate all known options that meet or exceed the minimum performance parameters specified in this write up. It should also address the risks and potential payoffs of the innovative technology options that are investigated and recommend the option that best achieves the objective of this technology pursuit. The funds obligated on the resulting Phase I SBIR contracts are to be used for the sole purpose of conducting a thorough feasibility study using scientific experiments and laboratory studies as necessary. Operational prototypes will not be developed with USSOCOM SBIR funds during Phase I feasibility studies. Operational prototypes developed with other than SBIR funds that are provided at the end of Phase I feasibility studies will not be considered in deciding what firm(s) will be selected for Phase II. 

PHASE II: Develop, install, and demonstrate a prototype system determined to be the most feasible solution during the Phase I feasibility study on the Austere Environment Virtual Planning Tool. 

PHASE III: This system could be used in a broad range of military applications where SOF and general purpose forces can use organic UAS assets to collect and virtualize data to plan operations, conduct rehearsals, and remotely coordinate actions on the objective with organizations that are not collocated with the ground tactical commander. This capability could also be adopted by first responders, federal law enforcement (Secret Service), and for organizations that require a need to conduct a “walk through” of a specific area prior to execution of a task. 


1: TC 3-21.76 U.S. Army "Ranger Handbook", dated April 2018:

2:  "The Augmented REality Sandtable (ARES)", Army Research Laboratory ARL-SR-0340 dated October 2015 (Specific focus on paragraph 6 titled "Related Research", Table 1 titled "Past research related to ARES":

3:  "The Virtual Sand Table", Army Research Laboratory ARL-TR-1456, dated August 2017, (Specific focus to offeror is paragraphs 1 titled "Introduction" and 2 titled "General":

KEYWORDS: Virtual, Austere Environment, Virtualized Data, Georeferenced Imagery 

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